THE DEDICATION OF SOLOMON’S TEMPLE
This is a very significant O.T. chapter, (1) because “It confounds and contradicts the critical allegations which are based upon their false hypothesis that the theology of Israel developed after the manner of an evolutionary pattern, and that it was not fully developed until the times of the (imaginary) Second Isaiah.” Solomon’s words here uphold the immanence and yet transcendence of God.
Also (2) this chapter presents overwhelmingly convincing evidence of the prior existence of the Five Books of Moses, commonly called the Pentateuch. He honored the Levitical instructions on moving the ark of the covenant. His prayer exhibited his knowledge of Exodus 22:8-11; Genesis 14:14; 34:29; Numbers 24:22 and of the entire Mosaic history of Israel.
It is quite annoying how frequently one encounters the comment that this chapter is “Deuteronomic,” that being a code word supposed to identify its user as one who accepts the critical fairy tale about the origin of the Pentateuch in the days of Josiah. LaSor came very near to expressing this writer’s opinion on that allegation as follows:
“It is our conviction that Deuteronomy is essentially Mosaic,” and that it was not the product of the Josianic period. If Deuteronomy had been produced at any time between the fall of Samaria and the fall of Jerusalem, and if the Jewish priesthood wrote it to establish the primacy of the Jerusalem sanctuary, then how can it be explained that JERUSALEM IS NOT EVEN MENTIONED IN DEUTERONOMY? Also, how can it be explained that there is found right here in the Book of Kings DETAILED KNOWLEDGE OF THE ENTIRE WILDERNESS PERIOD OF ISRAEL and knowledge of the Conquest and of Israel’s history during the times of Judges and Samuel?
“The critical dictum that the workmen in the Temple in the times of Josiah found a copy of `the Book of Deuteronomy’ is fraudulent because it was not the `Book of Deuteronomy’ which was found, but “The Book of the Law,” namely, the Five Books of Moses, as specifically stated in 2 Kings 22:8; and furthermore the strict observance of the’ Passover which Josiah commanded to be observed according to what was written in “this book of the covenant” (which instructions are not in Deuteronomy, except in a very abbreviated form in Deuteronomy 16, but in Exodus) convincingly demonstrates that `the book’ discovered was the whole Mosaic Law.”
The Temple of Solomon was a significant and impressive symbol of Israel’s unity and of their acceptance of Jehovah as their God, but “Whatever it might have been or might not have been to the people, Solomon used it as his private chapel. Three times a year he offered (and for all that appears, he offered with his own hand), without the intervention of any priests, burnt-offerings and peace-offerings upon the altar. Not only this, he actually, `burnt incense therewith upon the altar which was before the Lord’ (1 Kings 9:25). This was a deadly sin, the very sin for which Uzziah was stricken with leprosy (2 Chronicles 26:17-20).” The High Priest alone (and only once in the year), was privileged to offer incense upon that altar within the holy of holies.
Nevertheless, this chapter records God’s acceptance of the Temple and his accommodation to the vainglorious indulgence of the people and their wicked king in the building of it.
The chapter naturally falls into these divisions. “(1) Removing of the ark into the Temple (1 Kings 8:1-22), (2) Solomon’s prayer of consecration (1 Kings 8:23-54), (3) the benediction of the congregation (1 Kings 8:55-61), and (4) the festal sacrifices that completed the dedication (1 Kings 8:62-66).”