Solomon’s Prayer (1 Kings 8:12-21)
Verses 3-11 – The entire congregation stood as Solomon prayed. Kneeling or standing is an act of reverence. Solomon repeated the familiar story that led up to this point so everyone would understand the grace of God. The Lord had made a promise and now He had fulfilled it.
Verses 12, 13 – It was unusual for a king to kneel before someone else in front of his own people because kneeling meant submitting to a higher authority. His action showed that he acknowledged God as the ultimate King and authority, and it encouraged the people to do the same. Solomon had planned this moment by having a platform erected.
Verses 14-17 – Solomon thanked God for fulfilling the first half of the promise–the temple had been built and the son of David was on the throne. Then he petitioned God to keep the second part of the promise; the perpetual dynasty of Davids descendants as long as they remain faithful.
Verse 18 – Solomon marveled that the temple could contain the power of God and that God would be willing to live on earth among sinful people. We should marvel that God, through His Son, Jesus, lives among us and lived in human form to reveal His eternal purposes to us.
Verses 22, 23 – This first scenario involved a man who had done some wrong and who needed to clear his name or to bring about an end of his punishment by taking an oath in the temple. Solomon didn’t ask that a guilty person would be set free, but that justice would be done.
Verses 24, 25 – The second scenario was one illustrated throughout the rest of 2 Chronicles. It involves the Israelites turning away from God and as a consequence being defeated before an enemy. Solomon asked that when the people had come to their senses and prayed, God would forgive their sins and give them back the land they had lost.
Verse 26 – Why would Solomon assume that drought would come as a result of sin? God had made a specific agreement with the Israelites that drought could be a consequence of their sins (Deuteronomy 28:20-24).
Verses 28-31 – The fourth scenario included a number of disasters. Solomon petitioned God to listen to the prayers by people in the temple. In his prayer, Solomon underscored the fact that God stands ready to hear his people to forgive their sin and to restore their relationship with Him. God hears us when we cry out to Him when we’ve tried to live without Him and come to our senses. We realize it’s the goodness and mercy of God that can restore that relationship. God doesn’t go anywhere, we do.
Verses 32, 33 – In the fifth scenario, Solomon made his request on behalf of every foreigner who might come to the temple to seek God. His prayer was that these foreigners would find their petitions answered, so God’s name would be glorified among those who lived far away.
Verses 34, 35 – In this sixth scenario, Solomon asked God for strength in battle. He was asking “Yahweh’s” help during those times when he had to send the Israelites into war.
Verses 36-39 – “For there is no one who does not sin”–the Bible makes it clear that no one is exempt from sin, not even God’s appointed kings. In the seventh and last scenario, Solomon asked that once the people repented and started to pray in the direction of the temple that the Lord would forgive them and bring them back to their own land.
Verses 41, 42 – Solomon concluded his prayer by asking God to take over the temple so the priest, the godly people, and the anointed king, might rejoice in the nearness of God. He prayed that God would bless Israel for the sake of the loyalty of David, which God did indeed do for Solomon and many generations of Judah’s Kings.