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Solomon having ended his prayer, the fire of the Lord comes down from heaven and consumes the offerings, 2 Chronicles 7:1. The people and the priests see this, and glorify God, and offer sacrifices, 2 Chronicles 7:2-4. Solomon offers twenty-two thousand oxen, and one hundred and twenty thousand sheep; and the priests and Levites attend in their offices, 2 Chronicles 7:5, 2 Chronicles 7:6. He keeps the feast seven days, and the dedication of the altar seven days, and dismisses the people, 2 Chronicles 7:7-11. The Lord appears unto him by night, and assures him that he has heard his prayer, 2 Chronicles 7:12-16; promises him and his posterity a perpetual government, if they be obedient, 2 Chronicles 7:17, 2 Chronicles 7:18; but utter destruction should they disobey, and become idolaters, 2 Chronicles 7:19-22.
The fire came down - The cloud had come down before, now the fire consumes the sacrifice, showing that both the house and the sacrifices were accepted by the Lord.
The king and all the people offered sacrifices - They presented the victims to the priests, and they and the Levites slew them, and sprinkled the blood: or perhaps the people themselves slew them; and, having caught the blood, collected the fat, etc., presented them to the priests to be offered as the law required.
Twenty and two thousand oxen, etc. - The amount of all the victims that had been offered during the seven days of the feast of tabernacles, and the seven days of the feast of the dedication.
The entering in of Hamath - “From the entrance of Antioch to the Nile of Egypt.” - Targum.
On the three and twentieth day - This was the ninth day of the dedication of the temple; but in 1 Kings 8:66 it is called the eighth day. “The meaning is this,” says Jarchi: “he gave them liberty to return on the eighth day, and many of them did then return: and he dismissed the remainder on the ninth, what is called here the twenty-third, reckoning the fourteen days for the duration of the two feasts; in all, twenty-three.”
The Targum paraphrases this verse thus: “The people departed with a glad heart, for all the good which God had done to David his servant, on whose account the doors of the sanctuary were open and for Solomon his son, because God had heard his prayer, and the majesty of the Lord had rested on the house of the sanctuary and for Israel, his people, because God had favourably accepted their oblations, and the heavenly fire had descended, and, burning on the altar, had devoured their sacrifices.”
The Lord appeared to Solomon - This was a second manifestation; see 1 Kings 9:2-9 (note), and the notes there. The Targum says, “The Word of the Lord appeared to Solomon.”
Or if I send pestilence - “The angel of death.” - Targum.
Now mine eyes shall be open - It shall be pleasing to me in the sight of my Word, that I should incline mine ear,” etc. - Targum.
There shall not fail thee a man - This promise was not fulfilled, because the condition was not fulfilled; they forsook God, and he cut them off, and the throne also.
Then will I pluck them up by the roots - How completely has this been fulfilled! not only all the branches of the Jewish political tree have been cut off, but the very roots have been plucked up; so that the day of the Lord‘s anger has left them neither root nor branch.
Shall be an astonishment - The manner in which these disobedient people have been destroyed is truly astonishing: no nation was ever so highly favored, and none ever so severely and signally punished.
Because they forsook the Lord - While they cleaved to God, the most powerful enemy could make no impression on them; but when they forsook him, then the weakest and most inconsiderable of their foes harassed, oppressed, and reduced them to bondage and misery. It was by no personal prowess, genuine heroism, or supereminent military tactics, that the Jews were enabled to resist and overcome their enemies; it was by the Divine power alone; for, destitute of this, they were even worse than other men.