2 Chronicles 5 Commentary

To go directly to that verse

The Kingdom of Israel
From Splendor to Disaster
Splendor Disaster
King Solomon
of Judah
2 Chronicles 1-9
Successive Kings
of Judah
2Chr 10-36
2Chr 10:1-19
Rulers of the Southern
Kingdom of Judah
After the Split
The Exile
of Judah
2Chr 36:17-23

2Chr 1:1-17

2Chr 2:1-7:22
2Chr 8:1-9:31
of the Temple
Decline & Destruction
of the Temple
~40 Years ~393 Years

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Chart from Jensen's Survey of the OT - used by permission
Click Chart from Charles Swindoll









1Samuel 2 Samuel 1Kings 1Kings 2 Kings


1-4 5-10 11-20 21-24 1-11 12-22 1-17 18-25

1 Chronicles 10



2 Chronicles

2 Chronicles

2 Chronicles

Legend: B.C. dates at top of timeline are approximate. Note that 931BC marks the division of the Kingdom into Southern Tribes (Judah and Benjamin) and Ten Northern Tribes. To avoid confusion be aware that after the division of the Kingdom in 931BC, the Southern Kingdom is most often designated in Scripture as "Judah" and the Northern Kingdom as "Israel." Finally, note that 1 Chronicles 1-9 is not identified on the timeline because these chapters are records of genealogy.


2 Chronicles 5:1 Thus all the work that Solomon performed for the house of the LORD was finished. And Solomon brought in the things that David his father had dedicated, even the silver and the gold and all the utensils, and put them in the treasuries of the house of God.  

Related Passage:

1 Chronicles 29:2-5 “Now with all my ability I have provided for the house of my God the gold for the things of gold, and the silver for the things of silver, and the bronze for the things of bronze, the iron for the things of iron, and wood for the things of wood, onyx stones and inlaid stones, stones of antimony and stones of various colors, and all kinds of precious stones and alabaster in abundance. 3 “Moreover, in my delight in the house of my God, the treasure I have of gold and silver, I give to the house of my God, over and above all that I have already provided for the holy temple, 4 namely, 3,000 talents of gold, of the gold of Ophir, and 7,000 talents of refined silver, to overlay the walls of the buildings; 5 of gold for the things of gold and of silver for the things of silver, that is, for all the work done by the craftsmen. Who then is willing to consecrate himself this day to the LORD?” 

Thus all the work that Solomon performed for the house of the LORD was finished. And Solomon brought in the things that David his father had dedicated, even the silver and the gold and all the utensils, and put them in the treasuries of the house of God.  

J.A. Thompson: This verse marks the transition between the story of the construction and that of the dedication of the temple. It follows 1 Kgs 7:51. The last action mentioned in this section is Solomon's moving to the treasuries of God's temple (1 Chr 18:8, 10–11; 22:3–4, 14, 16; 26:26; 29:2–9) the things David, his father, had dedicated. The spoils taken from Egypt went into the building of the tabernacle. The spoils taken from Israel's enemies built the temple. The treasuries of God's temple are not described in the Chronicler's account of the temple construction (cf. 1 Kgs 6:5–10). The verb “was finished” (wattišalam) may be a play on Solomon's name (šêlōmōh), for it uses the same consonants. Solomon, the chosen temple builder, brings his task to fulfillment.

Raymond Dillard: The things dedicated by David. See 1 Chr 18:1–13; 26:25–27; 29:1– 5. Just as the spoil taken from Egypt had gone into the building of the tabernacle, so also the spoil of Israel’s enemies built the temple. The prophets often portray the wealth of the nations at the disposal of Israel (Isa 60:10–14; Mic 4:13; Zech 14:14). David’s generosity stimulated the giving of the people (1 Chr 29:6–9); their giving is another parallel chosen by the Chronicler with events at the building of the tabernacle (Exod 35:4—36:7). The dedicated things were stored in the treasuries of the temple (1 Chr 26:26; 28:12), though these rooms are not described in the Chronicler’s account of the construction (1 Kgs 6:5–10).

RON DANIEL - NOTES - 2Chr 5:1 Dedicated Things Put Into The Treasuries

When everything was done, Solomon filled the temple treasuries with everything that his father King David had dedicated.

MATTHEW HENRY - Chapter: 5 The temple being built and furnished for God, we have here,

I. Possession given to him, by bringing in the dedicated things (2Chr 5:1), but especially the ark, the token of his presence (2Chr 5:2-10).

II. Possession taken by him, in a cloud (2Chr 5:11-14). For if any man open the door of his heart to God he will come in, Rev. 3:20.

2Chr 5:1-10 This agrees with what we had 1 Ki. 8:2, etc., where an account was given of the solemn introduction of the ark into the new-erected temple.

1. There needed no great solemnity for the bringing in of the dedicated things, 2Chr 5:1.

They added to the wealth, and perhaps were so disposed as to add to the beauty of it; but they could not add to the holiness, for it was the temple that sanctified the gold, Mt. 23:17. See how just Solomon was both to God and to his father. Whatever David had dedicated to God, however much he might have liked it himself, he would by no means alienate it, but put it among the treasures of the temple. Those children that would inherit their godly parents' blessing must religiously pursue their pious intentions and not defeat them. When Solomon had made all the vessels of the temple in abundance (2Chr 4:18), many of the materials were left, which he would not convert to any other use, but laid up in the treasury for a time of need. Dedicated things must not be alienated. It is sacrilege to do it.

2. But it was fit that the ark should be brought in with great solemnity; and so it was.

All the other vessels were made new, and larger, in proportion to the house, than they had been in the tabernacle. But the ark, with the mercy-seat and the cherubim, was the same; for the presence and the grace of God are the same in little assemblies that they are in large ones, in the poor condition of the church that they are in its prosperous estate. Wherever two or three are gathered together in Christ's name there is he as truly present with them as if there were 2000 or 3000. The ark was brought in attended by a very great assembly of the elders of Israel, who came to grace and solemnity; and a very sumptuous appearance no doubt they made, 2Chr 5:2-4. It was carried by the priests (2Chr 5:7), brought into the most holy place, and put under the wings of the great cherubim which Solomon had set up there, 2Chr 5:7, 8. There they are unto this day (2Chr 5:9), not the day when this book was written after the captivity, but when that was written out of which this story was transcribed. Or they were there (so it might be read) unto this day, the day of Jerusalem's desolations, that fatal day, Ps. 137:7. The ark was a type of Christ, and, as such, a token of the presence of God. That gracious promise, Lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world, (Mt 28:20) does in effect bring the ark into our religious assemblies if we by faith and prayer put that promise in suit; and this we should be most solicitous and earnest for. Lord, if thy presence go not up with us, wherefore should we go up? The temple itself, if Christ leave it, is a desolate place, Mt. 23:38.

3. With the ark they brought up the tabernacle and all the holy vessels that were in the tabernacle, 2Chr 5:5. Those were not alienated, because they had been dedicated to God, were not altered or melted down for the new work, though there was no need of them; but they were carefully laid up as monuments of antiquity, and probably as many of the vessels as were fit for use were still used.

G Campbell Morgan - 2 Chron. 5.1
The work being completed, with filial and godly care Solomon carried into the sacred enclosure all that his father had dedicated to the House of God. It was a rich and varied store. If we glance back for a moment to r Chron. 29. 2, 3, we find David's own account of his gathering of these treasures. He first said: "I have prepared with all my might.... gold .. silver . . brass . . . iron . . wood . . stones." He then said: "I have set my affection qn the House of my God   . I have a treasure of mine own ... I give it . . . over and above all that I have prepared." This was complete devotion and dedication. There was first the systematic gathering of treasure of all sorts from all sources, and this was done with all his might. Then, when that was completed, he withheld nothing of his own, but impoverished himself by pouring all his possessions into the same treasury. This is the kind of giving which results from a great passion. It is easy to realize with what reverence Solomon would gather up and convey to the House of God all that wealth, doubly sacred because it was the expression of the devotion of his father's heart to that great work which had now been carried to successful completion. Let us note for ourselves the two elements in David's giving: "I have prepared with all my might; I have set my affection." The inspiration of love, and the activity of strength, will ever make our dedications complete, and our offerings worthy.

2 Chronicles 5:2 Then Solomon assembled to Jerusalem the elders of Israel and all the heads of the tribes, the leaders of the fathers’ households of the sons of Israel, to bring up the ark of the covenant of the LORD out of the city of David, which is Zion.

  • Then Solomon (KJV): 2Ch 5:1,12 1Ki 8:1-11 1Ch 28:1 
  • the chief (KJV): 1Ch 15:12 24:6,31 26:26 
  • the ark (KJV): Nu 10:33,36 
  • out (KJV): 2Ch 1:4 2Sa 6:12 1Ch 16:1 
  • the city (KJV): 2Sa 5:7 
  • which is Zion (KJV): Ps 2:6 87:2 132:13-17 

Related Passages:

2 Samuel 5:7 Nevertheless, David captured the stronghold of Zion, that is the city of David.

Then Solomon assembled to Jerusalem the elders of Israel and all the heads of the tribes, the leaders of the fathers’ households of the sons of Israel, to bring up the ark of the covenant of the LORD out of the city of David, which is Zion City of David refers  to the fortress of Zion in Jerusalem not Bethlehem. Zion ("parched place") is another name for Jerusalem especially in the prophetic books. 


John MacArthur: The ark was in Jerusalem in a temporary tent (2Sa 6:17), not the original tabernacle, which was still at Gibeon (1 Ch 16:39).

Frederick Mabie: The dedication of the temple is essentially one literary unit, beginning with the assembly of the leaders of Israel in 2Ch 5:2 and closing with the dismissal of this assembly in 2Ch 7:10, followed by a postscript indicating Yahweh’s appearance and response to Solomon’s temple-dedication prayer (2Ch 7:11–22). The stress of Yahweh’s response to Solomon’s dedicatory prayer is that Deuteronomic covenantal blessings can be obtained and renewed through repentance, humility, and prayer. This emphatic message of hope and available reconciliation with God would have special significance for the Chronicler’s postexilic audience, whose Sitz im Leben (life context) follows on the heels of the outworking of the divine threats noted in 2Ch 7:19–22.....Solomon’s gathering of leaders underscores the image of national unity and oneness at the dedication of the temple. A similar group of national leaders accompanied David in moving the ark of the covenant to Jerusalem (cf. 1Ch 13–16; cf. 1Ch 28:1–8). The ark of the covenant is being relocated the short distance (about 500 meters) from the City of David (Zion) to the new palace-temple complex.

Andrew Hill: The reports of the installation of the ark of the covenant in the Most Holy Place and the dedication of the temple constitute the climax of the Chronicler’s narrative of Israelite history. Historically, the reign of King Solomon was the zenith of Israelite political power and influence in the biblical world and the “golden age” of Israelite history culturally. The narrative reporting the events of the reign of Solomon, however, is important to the Chronicler for another reason. Theologically, this literary unit emphasizes the themes of the ark of the covenant, the temple, and the Davidic dynasty—the essential building blocks in the theology of hope he lays for his audience in the retelling of the history of Israelite kingship. This section contains three distinct movements: - the transfer and installation of the ark of the covenant (2Ch 5:2–6:11), - the dedicatory prayer for the temple (2Ch 6:12–42), and - the concluding ceremonies (2Ch 7:1–11). Solomon’s dream theophany (2Ch 7:12–22), in which God voices his approval of the king’s temple-related initiatives, provides a natural closure. The parallel that provides the primary historical source for this section of the Chronicler’s narrative is 1 Kings 8:1– 9:9.

Mark Boda: With the summary note at the outset of 2Ch 5, the Chronicler moves into a new phase of his account of the Temple building, a section that will continue until the end of chapter 7. While the Chronicler abridged the previous section from his source in Kings, in the present section he expands his account. The result is that greater emphasis is placed on the dedication of the Temple than on the construction of the Temple. This suggests that the Chronicler was more interested in the functioning of the Temple and its services than in its construction, as he addressed readers after the second Temple was completed.

J.A. Thompson: With the completion of the temple it was time to bring the ark to the temple because once the ark was in place, the temple rituals could proceed. The bringing of the ark to the temple, Solomon's prayer of dedication, and the concluding ceremonies of dedication brought the climax toward which the Chronicler had been moving throughout his story.

RON DANIEL - NOTES - 5:2-10 The Ark Is Brought Up

King David had made the mistake of transporting the ark incorrectly (1Chron. 13), which led to disaster. Three months later, they did it correctly: using the poles, and carrying them on the shoulders of the Levites (1Chron. 15:15).

Solomon has obviously learned from his father's mistake, for on the day when they brought the ark up to the new temple, the Levites took up the ark.

At this point, the ark contained only the Ten Commandments (Deut. 10:2-5). In the past, the ark had also contained a jar of manna (Ex. 16:32-34) and Aaron's rod, which had budded (Num. 17:10)

The writer of Hebrews described this, leaving us an appetite to know more details:

Heb. 9:4-5 having a golden altar of incense and the ark of the covenant covered on all sides with gold, in which was a golden jar holding the manna, and Aaron's rod which budded, and the tables of the covenant; and above it were the cherubim of glory overshadowing the mercy seat; but of these things we cannot now speak in detail.

When the ark was put into place, they discovered that the poles stuck out beyond the Holy of Holies. For many years later, it must have been a comforting reminder to the priests to know that the ark was safe and sound in the temple.

QUESTION - What is Zion? What is Mount Zion? What is the biblical meaning of Zion?

ANSWER - Psalm 87:2–3 says,

“The Lord loves the gates of Zion / more than all the other dwellings of Jacob. / Glorious things are said of you, / city of God.”

According to this verse, Zion is synonymous with city of God, and it is a place that God loves. Zion is Jerusalem. Mount Zion is the high hill on which David built a citadel. It is on the southeast side of the city. 

The word Zion occurs over 150 times in the Bible. It essentially means “fortification” and has the idea of being “raised up” as a “monument.” Zion is described both as the city of David and the city of God. As the Bible progresses, the word Zion expands in scope and takes on an additional, spiritual meaning.

The first mention of Zion in the Bible is 2 Samuel 5:7:

“David captured the fortress of Zion—which is the City of David.”

Zion was originally an ancient Jebusite fortress in the city of Jerusalem. After David’s conquest of the fortress, Jerusalem became a possession of Israel. The royal palace was built there, and Zion/Jerusalem became the seat of power in Israel’s kingdom.

When Solomon built the temple in Jerusalem, the meaning of Zion expanded further to include the temple area (Psalm 2:6; 48:2, 11–12; 132:13). This is the meaning found in the prophecy of Jeremiah 31:6, “Come, let us go up to Zion, to the LORD our God.” In the Old Testament Zion is used as a name for the city of Jerusalem (Isaiah 40:9), the land of Judah (Jeremiah 31:12), and the nation of Israel as a whole (Zechariah 9:13).

The word Zion is also used in a theological or spiritual sense in Scripture. In the Old Testament Zion refers figuratively to Israel as the people of God (Isaiah 60:14). In the New Testament, Zion refers to God’s spiritual kingdom. We have not come to Mount Sinai, says the apostle, but “to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem” (Hebrews 12:22). Peter, quoting Isaiah 28:16, refers to Christ as the Cornerstone of Zion: “See, I lay a stone in Zion, a chosen and precious cornerstone, and the one who trusts in him will never be put to shame” (1 Peter 2:6).

Mount Zion as a geographical area is currently the center of much dispute. The Bible is clear that, one day, Zion will be the sole possession of the Lord Jesus, and Zion—the nation and the city—will be restored. “Awake, awake, / Clothe yourself in your strength, O Zion; / Clothe yourself in your beautiful garments, / O Jerusalem, the holy city; / For the uncircumcised and the unclean / Will no longer come into you” (Isaiah 52:1). And “the children of your oppressors will come bowing before you; / all who despise you will bow down at your feet / and will call you the City of the LORD, / Zion of the Holy One of Israel” (Isaiah 60:14).GotQuestions.org

ZION [ISBE] - zi'-on (tsiyon; Sion):

1. Meaning of the Word:

A name applied to Jerusalem, or to certain parts of it, at least since the time of David. Nothing certain is known of the meaning. Gesenius and others have derived it from a Hebrew root tsahah, "to be dry"; Delitzsch from tsiwwah, "to set up" and Wetzstein from tsin, "to protect." Gesenius finds a more hopeful suggestion in the Arabic equivalent cihw, the Arabic cahwat signifying "ridge of a mountain" or "citadel," which at any rate suitably applies to what we know to have been the original Zion (compare Smith, HGHL, under the word).

Considerable confusion has been caused in the past by the want of clear understanding regarding the different sites which have respectively been called "Zion" during the centuries. It will make matters clearer if we take the application of the name: in David's time; in the early Prophets, etc.; in late poetical writings and in the Apocrypha; and in Christian times.

2. The Zion of the Jebusites:

Jerus (in the form Uru-sa-lim) is the oldest name we know for this city; it goes back at least 400 years before David. In 2 Sam 5:6-9, "The king and his men went to Jerusalem against the Jebusites. .... Nevertheless David took the stronghold of Zion; the same is the city of David .... And David dwelt in the stronghold, and called it the city of David." It is evident that Zion was the name of the citadel of the Jebusite city of Jerusalem. That this citadel and incidentally then city of Jerusalem around it were on the long ridge running South of the Temple (called the southeastern hill in the article JERUSALEM, III, (3) (which see)) is now accepted by almost all modern scholars, mainly on the following grounds:

(1) The near proximity of the site to the only known spring, now the "Virgin's Fount," once called GIHON (which see). From our knowledge of other ancient sites all over Palestine, as well as on grounds of common-sense, it is hardly possible to believe that the early inhabitants of this site with such an abundant source at their very doors could have made any other spot their headquarters.

(2) The suitability of the site for defense.--The sites suited for settlement in early Canaanite times were all, if we may judge from a number of them now known, of this nature--a rocky spur isolated on three sides by steep valleys, and, in many sites, protected at the end where they join the main mountain ridge by either a valley or a rocky spur.

(3) The size of the ridge, though very small to our modern ideas, is far more in keeping with what we know of fortified towns of that period than such an area as presented by the southwestern hill--the traditional site of Zion. Mr. Macalister found by actual excavation that the great walls of Gezer, which must have been contemporaneous with the Jebusite Jerusalem, measured approximately 4,500 feet in circumference. G. A. Smith has calculated that a line of wall carried along the known and inferred scarps around the edge of this southeastern hill would have an approximate circumference of 4,250 feet. The suitability of the site to a fortified city like Gezer, Megiddo, Soco, and other sites which have been excavated, strikes anyone familiar with these places.

(4) The archaeological remains on these hills found by Warren and Professor Guthe, and more particularly in the recent excavations of Captain Parker (see JERUSALEM), show without doubt that this was the earliest settlement in pre-Israelite times. Extensive curves and rock-cuttings, cave-dwellings and tombs, and enormous quantities of early "Amorite" (what may be popularly called "Jebusite") pottery show that the spot must have been inhabited many centuries before the time of David. The reverse is equally true; on no other part of the Jerusalem site has any quantity of such early pottery been found.

(5) The Bible evidence that Zion originally occupied this site is clear. It will be found more in detail under the heading "City of David" in the article JERUSALEM, IV, (5), but three points may be mentioned here: (a) The Ark of the Covenant was brought up out of the city of David to the Temple (1 Ki 8:1; 2 Ch 5:2), and Pharaoh's daughter "came up out of the city of David unto her house which Solomon had built for her"--adjacent to the Temple (1 Ki 9:24). This expression "up" could not be used of any other hill than of the lower-lying eastern ridge; to go from the southwestern hill (traditional Zion) to the Temple is to go down. (b) Hezekiah constructed the well-known Siloam tunnel from Gihon to the Pool of Siloam. He is described (2 Ch 32:30) as bringing the waters of Gihon "straight down on the west side of the city of David." (c) Manasseh (2 Ch 33:14) built "an outer wall to the city of David, on the west side of Gihon, in the valley" (i.e. nachal--the name of the Kedron valley).

3. Zion of the Prophets:

Zion, renamed the City of David, then originally was on this eastern ridge. But the name did not stay there. It would almost seem as if the name was extended to the Temple site when the ark was carried there, for in the pre-exilic Prophets the references to Zion all appear to have referred to the Temple Hill. To quote a few examples: "And Yahweh will create over the whole habitation of mount Zion, and over her assemblies, a cloud and smoke by day, and the shining of a flaming fire by night" (Isa 4:5); "Yahweh of hosts, who dwelleth in mount Zion" (Isa 8:18); "Let us go up to Zion unto Yahweh our God" (Jer 31:6); "Yahweh will reign over them in mount Zion" (Mic 4:7). All these, and numbers more, clearly show that at that time Zion was the Temple Hill.

4. Zion in Later Poetical Writings and Apocrypha:

In many of the later writings, particularly poetical references, Zion appears to be the equivalent of Jerusalem; either in parallelism (Ps 102:21; Am 1:2; Mic 3:10,12; Zec 1:14,17; 8:3; Zeph 3:16) or alone (Jer 3:14; Lam 5:11); even here many of the references will do equally well for the Temple Hill. The term "Daughter of zion" is applied to the captive Jews (Lam 4:22), but in other references to the people of Jerusalem (Isa 1:8; 52:2; Jer 4:31, etc.). When we come to the Apocrypha, in 2 Esdras there are several references in which Zion is used for the captive people of Judah (2:40; 3:2,31; 10:20,39,44), but "Mount Zion" in this and other books (e.g. 1 Macc 4:37,60; 5:54; 6:48,62, etc.) is always the Temple Hill.

5. Omission of Name by Some Writers:

It has been pointed out as a curious and unaccountable exception that in Ezekiel as well as in Chronicles, Ezra and Nehemiah, there is no mention of Zion, except the incidental reference to David's capture of the Jebusite fort. The references in the other Prophets and the Psalms are so copious that there must be some religious reason for this. The Chronicler (2 Ch 3:1), too, alone refers to the Temple as on Mount Moriah. It is also noticeable that only in these books (2 Ch 27:3; 33:14; Neh 3:26 f; 11:21) does the name "Ophel" appear as a designation of a part of the southeastern hill, which apparently might equally fitly have been termed Zion. See OPHEL. Josephus never uses the name "Zion" nor does it occur in the New Testament, except in two quotations (Heb 12:22; Rev 14:1).

6. The Name "Zion" in Christian Times:

Among the earlier Christian writers who mention "Zion," Origen used it as equivalent to the Temple Hill, but in the 4th century writers commence to localize it up the southern part of the western hill. It was a period when Biblical topography was settled in a very arbitrary manner, without any scientific or critical examination of the evidence, and this tradition once established remained, like many such traditions, undisputed until very recent years. To W. F. Birch belongs much of the credit for the promulgation of the newer views which now receive the adherence of almost every living authority on the topography of Jerusalem. E. W. G. Masterman

2 Chronicles 5:3 All the men of Israel assembled themselves to the king at the feast, that is in the seventh month.

  • Wherefore (KJV): 1Ki 8:2 
  • in the feast (KJV): That is, as the Targumist observes, in the feast of tabernacles, which was held in the seventh month of the ecclesiastical year, which was called Ethanim. 2Ch 7:8-10 Lev 23:34-36 1Ki 8:2 

Related Passages:

Leviticus 23:34  “Speak to the sons of Israel, saying, ‘On the fifteenth of this seventh month is the Feast of Booths for seven days to the LORD.

All the men of Israel assembled themselves to the king at the feast, that is in the seventh month.

The feast refers to the Feast of Booths  or Tabernacles (See Lev. 23:34-43) Seventh month is Sept.-Oct by our calendar. 

Mark Boda: This [Festival of Shelters (Tabernacles)] was one of the three key festivals (Passover/Unleavened Bread, Weeks/Pentecost, Tabernacles) that coincided with the three harvest periods in Canaan and to which all Israelites were to journey to Jerusalem to offer their tithes and offerings (Exod 23:14-17; Deut 16:16). It is not surprising that Solomon would plan his dedication to coincide with a major festival with so many people gathering in Jerusalem to celebrate the harvest

John Olley - These few verses are packed with details affirming the people’s identity as the Lord’s covenant people, “Israel.” While other nations would bring an idol in procession to a new temple, Israel brings the Lord’s throne, the “ark of the covenant of the Lord” (the first mention of the “covenant” in Solomon’s reign, repeated in 2Ch 5:7). The “feast that is in the seventh month” is the Feast of Booths, remembering the wilderness journey that shaped the life of the people as they traveled with the ark in the “tent of meeting” at their center. That “tent,” which had been at Gibeon (2Ch 1:6), is now also in the temple in Jerusalem; continuity with the past is affirmed. The active involvement of “Israel” as a whole is emphasized (four times in 2Ch 5:2–6); “Solomon” may be in charge, but he is named only twice, both together with the leaders (2Ch 5:2, 6). Finally, while 1 Kings 8:1 has the leaders coming “before King Solomon in Jerusalem,” Chronicles’ simple “in Jerusalem” provides another example for postexilic hearers: it is “all . . . Israel” coming to the place, not to the king, that is most important.

QUESTION - What is the Feast of Tabernacles / Booths / Sukkot?

ANSWER - The Feast of Tabernacles, also known as the Feast of Booths and Sukkot, is the seventh and last feast that the Lord commanded Israel to observe and one of the three feasts that Jews were to observe each year by going to “appear before the Lord your God in the place which He shall choose” (Deuteronomy 16:16). The importance of the Feast of Tabernacles can be seen in how many places it is mentioned in Scripture. In the Bible we see many important events that took place at the time of the Feast of Tabernacles. For one thing, it was at this time that Solomon’s Temple was dedicated to the Lord (1 Kings 8:2).

It was at the Feast of Tabernacles that the Israelites, who had returned to rebuild the temple, gathered to celebrate under the leadership of Joshua and Zerubbabel (Ezra 3). Later, the Jews heard Ezra read the Word of God to them during the Feast of Tabernacles (Nehemiah 8). Ezra’s preaching resulted in a great revival as the Israelites confessed and repented of their sins. It was also during this Feast that Jesus said, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water” (John 7:37–39).

The Feast of Tabernacles takes place on the 15th of the Hebrew month Tishri. This was the seventh month on the Hebrew calendar and usually occurs in late September to mid-October. The feast begins five days after the Day of Atonement and at the time the fall harvest had just been completed. It was a time of joyous celebration as the Israelites celebrated God’s continued provision for them in the current harvest and remembered His provision and protection during the 40 years in the wilderness.

As one of the three feasts that all “native born” male Jews were commanded to participate in, the Feast of Tabernacles is mentioned multiple times in Scripture, sometimes called the Feast of the Ingathering, the Feast to the Lord, or the Feast of Booths (Exodus 23:16; Deuteronomy 16:13). As one of the pilgrim feasts (when Jewish males were commanded to go to Jerusalem), it was also the time when they brought their tithes and offerings to the Temple (Deuteronomy 16:16). With the influx of people coming to Jerusalem at that time, we can only imagine what the scene must have been like. Thousands upon thousands of people coming together to remember and celebrate God’s deliverance and His provision, all living in temporary shelters or booths as part of the requirements of the feast. During the eight-day period, so many sacrifices were made that it required all twenty-four divisions of priests to be present to assist in the sacrificial duties.

We find God’s instructions for celebrating the Feast of Tabernacles in Leviticus 23, given at a point in history right after God had delivered Israel from bondage in Egypt. The feast was to be celebrated each year on “the fifteenth day of this seventh month” and was to run for seven days (Leviticus 23:34). Like all feasts, it begins with a “holy convocation” or Sabbath day when the Israelites were to stop working to set aside the day for worshiping God. On each day of the feast they were to offer an “offering made by fire to the Lord” and then after seven days of feasting, again the eighth day was to be “a holy convocation” when they were to cease from work and offer another sacrifice to God (Leviticus 23). Lasting eight days, the Feast of Tabernacles begins and ends with a Sabbath day of rest. During the eight days of the feast, the Israelites would dwell in booths or tabernacles that were made from the branches of trees (Leviticus 23:40–42).

The Feast of Tabernacles, like all the feasts, was instituted by God as a way of reminding Israelites in every generation of their deliverance by God from Egypt. Of course, the feasts are also significant in that they foreshadow the work and actions of the coming Messiah. Much of Jesus’ public ministry took place in conjunction with the Holy Feasts set forth by God.

The three pilgrim feasts where all Jewish males were commanded to “appear before the Lord in the place he chooses” are each very important in regards to the life of Christ and His work of redemption. We know with certainty that the Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread are symbolic of Christ’s atoning sacrifice on the cross. Likewise, we know that Pentecost, which marked the beginning of the Feast of Weeks, was the time of Jesus’ bodily ascension. And most scholars would agree that the Feast of Tabernacles is symbolic of Christ’s Second Coming when He will establish His earthly kingdom.

There are also some who believe that it was likely during the Feast of Tabernacles that Jesus was born. While we celebrate Christ’s birth on December 25, most scholars acknowledge that this tradition was begun in the fourth century AD by the Roman Catholic Church and that the exact day of Jesus’ birth is unknown. Some of the evidence that Jesus might have been born earlier in the year during the Feast of the Tabernacles includes the fact that it would be unlikely for shepherds to still be in the field with their sheep in December, which is in the middle of the winter, but it would have been likely they were in the fields tending sheep at the time of the Feast of Tabernacles. The strong possibility that Jesus was born at the time of the Feast of Tabernacles is also seen in the words John wrote in John 1:14. “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.” The word John chose to speak of Jesus “dwelling” among us is the word tabernacle, which simply means to “dwell in a tent.”

Some believe it is very likely that John intentionally used this word to associate the first coming of Christ with the Feast of Tabernacles. Christ came in the flesh to dwell among us for a temporary time when He was born in the manger, and He is coming again to dwell among us as Lord of Lords. While it cannot be established with certainty that Jesus was born during the Feast of Tabernacles, some believe there is a strong possibility the Feast of Tabernacles not only looks forward to His second coming but also reflects back on His first coming.

The Feast of Tabernacles begins and ends with a special Sabbath day of rest. During the days of the feast all native Israelites were “to dwell in booths” to remind them that God delivered them out of the “land of Egypt” and to look forward to the coming Messiah, Jesus Christ, who would deliver His people from the bondage of sin. This feast, like all of the feasts of Israel, consistently reminded the Jews and should remind Christians as well that God has promised to deliver His people from the bondage of sin and deliver them from their enemies. Part of God’s deliverance for the Israelites was His provision and protection of them for the 40 years they wandered in the wilderness, cut off from the Promised Land. The same holds true for Christians today. God protects us and provides for us as we go through life in the wilderness of this world. While our hearts long for the Promised Land (heaven) and to be in the presence of God, He preserves us in this world as we await the world to come and the redemption that will come when Jesus Christ returns again to “tabernacle” or dwell among us in bodily form.GotQuestions.org

2 Chronicles 5:4 Then all the elders of Israel came, and the Levites took up the ark.

  • the Levites (KJV): Probably the Levites, of the family of Kohath, carried the ark into the courts of the temple; and then the priests conveyed it into its proper place. Nu 4:15 Jos 3:6 6:6 1Ki 8:3 1Ch 15:2,12-14 

Then all the elders of Israel came, and the Levites took up the ark. Only the Levites were allowed by Law to transport the Ark of the Covenant. 

Frederick Mabie: Solomon employs both Levites and priests for the handling and moving of the sacred objects, including the ark and the Tent of Meeting (the tabernacle in the wilderness). The mention of these groups implies differing responsibilities. In short, every priest must be a Levite; yet not every Levite would function as a priest.

Andrew Hill: The rest of the sacred furniture from the Tent of Meeting, as well as the tent itself, is also transported to the temple precinct (2Ch 5:4–5). Previously, the Tent of Meeting was located in Gibeon (cf. 1 Chron. 16:39). There is no mention of the Tent of Meeting being relocated in Jerusalem, so presumably these materials have been dismantled and transported from Gibeon to Jerusalem for the installation ceremony. The ark itself undoubtedly leads the procession from the temporary structure David erected in Zion to the Jerusalem temple (2 Chron. 5:2; cf. 1 Chron. 15:1–2).

QUESTION - What is the ark of the testimony (ark of the covenant)?

ANSWER - The first mention of the ark of the testimony is in Exodus 25:10. God gave Moses specific instructions for building a tabernacle as they traveled in the wilderness. The tabernacle would be the place where the glory of God would dwell among His people (Exodus 25:8–9). Among hundreds of other descriptive instructions for this tabernacle, God told Moses to build an ark of the testimony, also called the ark of the covenant (Exodus 25:21–22). The words testimony and covenant both refer to the conditional agreement made between God and the children of Israel at Mount Sinai. An ark is, literally, a box or chest. So the ark of the testimony is the “box of the agreement.”

The ark of the testimony was a wooden box, covered in gold inside and out. It had four exterior rings through which poles could be attached for carrying. No one but the high priest could touch the ark (Numbers 4:15). To do so would result in instant death, as happened with a man named Uzzah (2 Samuel 6:1–7). God was beginning to teach His people about His holiness and their unworthiness. He demonstrated to them that His commands were not suggestions to be negotiated. He wanted to teach them to obey Him in all things, whether or not they understood the reason for the rules.

The lid of the ark was also made of gold and formed a seat between two cherubim, called the mercy seat. It was there that God would meet with His people (Exodus 25:22). Inside the ark of the testimony, Moses placed the tablets of the Law that God gave him on the mountain. The ark was placed inside the tabernacle in the most holy place, where only the high priest could go once a year (Exodus 26:34). Through it all, God was painting a picture to help us understand what is required for sinful man to come into the presence of a holy God.

The ark of the testimony got its name from the fact that it would be the housing for God’s testimony to His people. His Law was not only verbal, but written, etched in stone (Exodus 34:28; Deuteronomy 5:22), so there could be no excuse for disobedience. Hebrews 9:4 tells us that, later, the Israelites added to the stone tablets within the ark of the testimony a jar of manna (Exodus 16:32–33) and Aaron’s rod that budded (Numbers 17:8–10).

The ark of the testimony represented the presence of God with His people, and His power went with them wherever they took the ark (Joshua 3:6; Numbers 10:33–35). The enemies of Israel, the Philistines, stole the ark once (1 Samuel 5:1), hoping its power would help them. They set it in their idol’s temple and waited for the good luck it would bring. But calamity broke out among the Philistines, until they begged their leaders to send the ark back to Israel (1 Samuel 5:4, 6, 9, 11–12). God demonstrated that He was not a good-luck charm whose power could be had by whoever captured His ark. The power was not in the ark of the testimony itself; the ark only represented the presence of God with His people.

Since the death and resurrection of Jesus (Romans 14:9), God no longer uses an ark of the testimony to dwell with His people. We are under a new testament or covenant. At Pentecost, He sent the Holy Spirit to indwell every believer (Acts 2:1–4, 38–39). We become His temple (1 Corinthians 6:19). When we have been born again by faith in Jesus Christ (John 3:3, 16), we take God with us everywhere we go. It did the Philistines no good to harbor the ark, because the ark had no power in itself if God was not on their side. Likewise, we do not need physical items—crosses, images, holy relics—to carry the power of God with us because He already abides in us. That awareness of His presence, called the fear of the Lord (Psalm 19:19; Proverbs 15:33), helps us make decisions that honor Him.GotQuestions.org

QUESTION - What is the Ark of the Covenant?

ANSWER - God made a covenant (a conditional covenant) with the children of Israel through His servant Moses. He promised good to them and their children for generations if they obeyed Him and His laws; but He always warned of despair, punishment, and dispersion if they were to disobey. As a sign of His covenant He had the Israelites make a box according to His own design, in which to place the stone tablets containing the Ten Commandments. This box, or chest, was called an “ark” and was made of acacia wood overlaid with gold. The Ark was to be housed in the inner sanctum of the tabernacle in the desert and eventually in the Temple when it was built in Jerusalem. This chest is known as the Ark of the Covenant.

The real significance of the Ark of the Covenant was what took place involving the lid of the box, known as the "Mercy Seat." The term ‘mercy seat’ comes from a Hebrew word meaning “to cover, placate, appease, cleanse, cancel or make atonement for.” It was here that the high priest, only once a year (Leviticus 16), entered the Holy of Holies where the Ark was kept and atoned for his sins and the sins of the Israelites. The priest sprinkled blood of a sacrificed animal onto the Mercy Seat to appease the wrath and anger of God for past sins committed. This was the only place in the world where this atonement could take place.

The Mercy Seat on the Ark was a symbolic foreshadowing of the ultimate sacrifice for all sin—the blood of Christ shed on the cross for the remission of sins. The Apostle Paul, a former Pharisee and one familiar with the Old Testament, knew this concept quite well when he wrote about Christ being our covering for sin in Romans 3:24-25: "…and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith." Just as there was only one place for atonement of sins in the Old Testament—the Mercy Seat of the Ark of the Covenant—so there is also only one place for atonement in the New Testament and current times—the cross of Jesus Christ. As Christians, we no longer look to the Ark but to the Lord Jesus Himself as the propitiation and atonement for our sins.GotQuestions.org

2 Chronicles 5:5 They brought up the ark and the tent of meeting and all the holy utensils which were in the tent; the Levitical priests brought them up.

  • the tabernacle (KJV): 2Ch 1:3 1Ki 8:4,6 

2 Chronicles 5:6 And King Solomon and all the congregation of Israel who were assembled with him before the ark, were sacrificing so many sheep and oxen that they could not be counted or numbered.

  • 2Sa 6:13 1Ki 8:5 1Ch 16:1,2 29:21 

And King Solomon and all the congregation of Israel who were assembled with him before the ark, were sacrificing so many sheep and oxen that they could not be counted or numbered.

MATTHEW HENRY - This was done with great joy. They kept a holy feast upon the occasion (2Chr 5:3), and sacrificed sheep and oxen without number, 2Chr 5:6. Note,

(1.) The establishment of the public worship of God according to his institution, and with the tokens of his presence, is, and ought to be, matter of great joy to any people.

(2.) When Christ is formed in a soul, the law written in the heart, the ark of the covenant settled there, so that it becomes the temple of the Holy Ghost, there is true satisfaction in that soul.

(3.) Whatever we have the comfort of we must, by the sacrifice of praise, give God the glory of, and not be straitened therein; for with such sacrifices God is well pleased. If God favour us with his presence, we must honour him with our services, the best we have.

2 Chronicles 5:7 Then the priests brought the ark of the covenant of the LORD to its place, into the inner sanctuary of the house, to the holy of holies, under the wings of the cherubim.

  • the priests (KJV): Ps 132:8 
  • to the oracle (KJV): 2Ch 4:20 Ex 37:6-9 1Ki 6:23-28 8:6,7 Heb 9:4,5 

Then the priests brought the ark of the covenant of the LORD to its place, into the inner sanctuary of the house, to the holy of holies, under the wings of the cherubim.

2 Chronicles 5:8 For the cherubim spread their wings over the place of the ark, so that the cherubim made a covering over the ark and its poles.

  • the staves (KJV): Ex 25:12-15 37:3-5 Nu 4:6 

Related Passages:

Exodus 25:13-15 “You shall make poles of acacia wood and overlay them with gold. 14 “You shall put the poles into the rings on the sides of the ark, to carry the ark with them. 15 The poles shall remain in the rings of the ark; they shall not be removed from it.

1 Chronicles 15:15   The sons of the Levites carried the ark of God on their shoulders with the poles thereon, as Moses had commanded according to the word of the LORD. 

For the cherubim spread their wings over the place of the ark, so that the cherubim made a covering over the ark and its poles. - Poles (staves) were used by the Levites to carry the ark, with the poles on their shoulders.

Bob Utley: Apparently in Solomon's temple there were two sets of these angel guardians. - two large pairs that faced toward the altar of sacrifice; they filled the entire inner room - two smaller ones on the lid of the ark, facing inward

Frederick Mabie: The imagery of the expanse of the cherubs’ wingspan over the ark likely reflects God’s complete protection over the ark and the sacred inner sanctum (as holy space). This protection over the ark would visually portray God’s protection over his Word, especially his covenantal relationship with Israel as inscribed on the two tablets placed within the ark (2Ch 5:10). No remark is made concerning the other two items previously kept in the ark, namely, the omer of manna (Ex 16:32–34) and Aaron’s rod (Nu 17:10). It is possible that these items were removed or lost during the ark’s transient period (including years in Philistine possession).

STAVES [ISBE] - stavz (baddim): Ten or eleven Hebrew words are used in the Old Testament to describe various staffs, bars, and wooden rods used by the Hebrews (compare STAFF; ROD; SCEPTER). One word only is used to describe the staves or wooden poles used for carrying the holy furniture of the tabernacle from place to place. That word is badh (plural baddim), which occurs 28 times in Exodus and Numbers and 5 times in Kings and Chronicles (compare also Job 17:16; Hos 11:6). The only passage in which these staves are mentioned by another name is 1 Ch 15:15, where the staves used for carrying the ark from its captivity into Jerusalem are called motah. The reason for this probably is that the original baddim had been lost during the long absence of the sacred chest from its home in the tabernacle.

In the wilderness wanderings, arrangements were made that four items of the holy furniture of the portable tabernacle should be carried on the shoulders of Levites, suspended on these staves. These were the golden altar of incense, the golden table for shewbread, the brazen altar of sacrifice, and the ark of the covenant (Ex 35:12-16).

In the case of the large altar of sacrifice, which was in reality a hollow wooden chest covered with brass (bronze) plates (see ALTAR), four rings were attached to the brass grating which rose midway in the chest, and through these rings the staves passed. The staves were of acacia wood and were covered with brass plating. In the case of the three golden utensils of the sanctuary, the staves were of acacia wood, covered with gold plates.

The last mention of any of these staves is in 1 Ki 8:7-9, where it is stated of the ark, in the holy of holies in Solomon's Temple, that the ends of its staves were seen by anyone standing in the adjoining holy place, before (i.e. east of) the oracle. Priests only might view them there, the curtain being withdrawn. The writer of 1 Ki 8 adds that the staves were thus visible when he wrote, an item of evidence worthy of note as to the date of the document. W. Shaw Caldecott

2 Chronicles 5:9 The poles were so long that the ends of the poles of the ark could be seen in front of the inner sanctuary, but they could not be seen outside; and they are there to this day.

  • they drew (KJV): As the ark was no longer to be carried about, the staves were unnecessary.
  • the ends (KJV): 1Ki 8:8,9 
  • there it is (KJV): or, they are there, as 1 Ki 8, 8, 1Ki 8:8 
  • unto this day (KJV): That is, the day when these events were recorded; not the day when these extracts were made, after the captivity, and consequently, long after the destruction of the temple.

Related Passages:

1 Kings 8:7-8 For the cherubim spread their wings over the place of the ark, and the cherubim made a covering over the ark and its poles from above. 8 But the poles were so long that the ends of the poles could be seen from the holy place before the inner sanctuary, but they could not be seen outside; they are there to this day.

The poles were so long that the ends of the poles of the ark could be seen in front of the inner sanctuary, but they could not be seen outside; and they are there to this day.

2 Chronicles 5:10 There was nothing in the ark except the two tablets which Moses put there at Horeb, where the LORD made a covenant with the sons of Israel, when they came out of Egypt.

  • There was nothing (KJV): In the parallel passage in the Epistle to the Hebrews, it is expressly stated that in the ark were "the golden pot that had manna, and Aaron's rod that budded, and the tables of the covenant;" but it is evident that the apostle speaks there of the tabernacle erected by Moses, and of the state and contents of that tabernacle in the time of Moses; and in the temple there were several things added, and several left out.
  • save (KJV): 2Ch 6:11 Ex 31:18 32:15,16,19 34:1 40:20 De 10:2-5 Heb 9:4 
  • when (KJV): or, where
  • the Lord (KJV): Ex 19:5 24:7,8 De 29:1,10-14 Jer 31:31-34 Heb 8:6-13 

Related Passages:

1 Kings 8:9 There was nothing in the ark except the two tablets of stone which Moses put there at Horeb, where the LORD made a covenant with the sons of Israel, when they came out of the land of Egypt.

Hebrews 9:4  having a golden altar of incense and the ark of the covenant covered on all sides with gold, in which was a golden jar holding the manna, and Aaron’s rod which budded, and the tables of the covenant;

There was nothing in the ark except the two tablets which Moses put there at Horeb, where the LORD made a covenant with the sons of Israel, when they came out of Egypt.

Defender's Study Bible - the two tables.  Compare Hebrews 9:4. In addition to the two tables of the law, the ark had once contained a pot of manna and Aaron's rod that budded (Exodus 16:33; Numbers 17:10), which were to be kept as reminders of both God's authority and His faithfulness. Presumably these had somehow been removed during the years the ark was away from the tabernacle. The rod and manna were only symbols, of course, for God does not change. However, the tables of the law, were more than symbols and could not be removed (compare Hebrews 9:4).

QUESTION - What is the significance of Mount Horeb in the Bible?

ANSWER - Mount Horeb in the Bible is another name for Mount Sinai, the mountain where the Hebrew people entered into a covenant with God after escaping from bondage in Egypt (Deuteronomy 5:2; 1 Kings 8:9; 2 Chronicles 5:10). Mount Horeb is also the place where Moses received the Ten Commandments and the laws, rules, and instructions for the people before continuing on their journey through the desert toward the Promised Land (Exodus 33:6; Malachi 4:4). “The mountain of God” is another name in the Bible for Mount Horeb or Mount Sinai (Exodus 3:1; 4:27; 18:5).

Horeb comes from a Hebrew term meaning “desert.” Most of the events that the book of Exodus describes as happening at Mount Sinai are located at Mount Horeb in the book of Deuteronomy. Deuteronomy uses the name Horeb exclusively for the mountain of God except in one verse, Deuteronomy 33:2. However, this mention of Sinai could refer to the wilderness of Sinai rather than the mountain.

Before the exodus, while Moses was tending the flocks of his father-in-law, Jethro, he came one day to the slopes of Mount Horeb. There he caught sight of a bush that was on fire but not burning up. As Moses investigated the phenomenon, God spoke to him from the flames. Calling him by name, the Lord told Moses to go to Pharaoh and deliver the people of Israel out of slavery in Egypt (Exodus 3:1–12).

After the exodus, as the people wandered in the desert, they suffered from thirst and began to complain to Moses about having no water. The Lord commanded Moses to strike the rock at Horeb to obtain water to drink (Exodus 17:1–7).

In Exodus 19—20, the Israelites camped at the base of Mount Horeb while Moses went up the mountain to receive instructions from God. The people were told that from the mountain they would receive the commandments of God, and even hear the Lord’s voice. After three days of preparation, God would come down in the sight of all the people. Moses set boundaries on where they could go, and under penalty of death, they were prohibited from even touching the mountain. On the third day, amid thunder, lightning, and trumpet blasts, a thick cloud of smoke engulfed the mountain as God descended on it. Then Moses brought down the Ten Commandments and all the instructions of the law.

The book of Deuteronomy reiterates that on Mount Horeb God made a covenant with the people of Israel (Deuteronomy 5:2) and handed down the Ten Commandments (Deuteronomy 5:6–21). Also, while camped at Mount Horeb, the people made a golden idol in the shape of a calf to worship, provoking God’s wrath (Deuteronomy 9:13–29; Psalm 106:19).

From Mount Horeb, the Israelites set out toward Kadesh-barnea, an eleven-day journey (Deuteronomy 1:2, 19). Much later, the prophet Elijah fled to Mount Horeb because of Jezebel’s wrath (1 Kings 19:1–8). There he stayed in a cave and had an extraordinary encounter with God, who spoke to him not in the windstorm, earthquake, or fire, but in a gentle whisper. On Horeb God also instructed Elijah to anoint Hazael as king over Syria and Jehu over Israel, and He named Elisha as the prophet to succeed Elijah (1 Kings 19:9–21). GotQuestions.org

2 Chronicles 5:11 When the priests came forth from the holy place (for all the priests who were present had sanctified themselves, without regard to divisions),

  • present (KJV): Heb. found
  • sanctified (KJV): 2Ch 29:5,15,34 30:15,17-20 Ex 19:10,14,15 Job 1:5 
  • wait by course (KJV): 2Ch 35:4 1Ch 24:1-31

When the priests came forth from the holy place (for all the priests who were present had sanctified themselves, without regard to divisions),

RON DANIEL - 2Chr 5:11-14 The Dedication Service - The temple was filled with a cloud. Throughout Israel's history, the Lord's glory would appear in a cloud in the wilderness (Exo. 16:10), on Mount Sinai (Ex 24:16), and in the tabernacle (Ex 40:34). Now, God's glory has filled the new temple. And notice when it happened: when the priests came forth from the holy place, and the singers glorified the Lord in song. More and more I am seeing that God desires to fill His house with His glory. However, He will not share His glory with anyone. And so a couple of things need to happen: - the ministers have to get out of the way - the singers and musicians need to be in unity and praising the Lord. I believe that God's glory is revealed when we are truly glorifying the Lord. What happens when people try to draw attention to themselves? A couple of priests in the early days tried to do just that: Moses and Aaron had come out of the tabernacle to bless the people. God's glory appeared to all the people. God accepted their sacrifices, and the people shouted and fell on their faces (Lev. 9:22-24). But two of Aaron's sons wanted some of that attention.

Lev. 10:1-3 Now Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, took their respective firepans, and after putting fire in them, placed incense on it and offered strange fire before the LORD, which He had not commanded them. And fire came out from the presence of the LORD and consumed them, and they died before the LORD. Then Moses said to Aaron, "It is what the LORD spoke, saying, 'By those who come near Me I will be treated as holy, and before all the people I will be honored.'"...

Too often, there are musicians and ministers who offer strange fire, trying to steal some of God's glory. Fortunately, when God's glory filled the new temple, every one of the musicians and ministers fell on their faces before God. They could not stand because of it. That's when we know that God is truly being glorified - when no minister is standing up saying, "Look at me, look at me!"

Matthew Henry Notes: 2Chr 5:11-14 Solomon, and the elders of Israel, had done what they could to grace the solemnity of the introduction of the ark; but God, by testifying his acceptance of what they did, put the greatest honour upon it. The cloud of glory that filled the house beautified it more than all the gold with which it was overlaid or the precious stones with which it was garnished; and yet that was no glory in comparison with the glory of the gospel dispensation, 2 Co. 3:8-10. Observe,

I. How God took possession of the temple: He filled it with a cloud, 2Chr 5:13.

1. Thus he signified his acceptance of this temple to be the same to him that the tabernacle of Moses was, and assured them that he would be the same in it; for it was by a cloud that he made his public entry into that, Ex. 40:34.

2. Thus he considered the weakness and infirmity of those to whom he manifested himself, who could not bear the dazzling lustre of the divine light: it would have overpowered them; he therefore spread his cloud upon it, Job 26:9. Christ revealed things unto his disciples as they were able to bear them, and in parables, which wrapped up divine things as in a cloud.

3. Thus he would affect all that worshipped in his courts with holy reverence and fear. Christ's disciples were afraid when they entered into a cloud, Lu. 9:34.

4. Thus he would intimate the darkness of that dispensation, by reason of which they could not stedfastly look to the end of those things which were now abolished, 2 Co. 3:13.

II. When he took possession of it.

1. When the priests had come out of the holy place, 2Chr 5:11. This is the way of giving possession. All must come out, that the rightful owner may come in. Would we have God dwell in our hearts? We must leave room for him; let every thing else give way. We are here told that upon this occasion the whole family of the priests attended, and not any one particular course: All the priests that were present were sanctified (2Chr 5:11), because there was work enough for them all, when such a multitude of sacrifices were to be offered, and because it was fit that they should all be eye-witnesses of this solemnity and receive the impressions of it.

2. When the singers and musicians praised God, then the house was filled with a cloud.

This is very observable; it was not when they offered sacrifices, but when they sang the praises of God, that God gave them this token of his favour; for the sacrifice of praise pleaseth the Lord better than that of an ox or bullock, Ps. 69:31. All the singers and musicians were employed, those of all the three families; and, to complete the concert, 120 priests, with their trumpets, joined with them, all standing at the east end of the altar, on that side of the court which lay outmost towards the people, 2Chr 5:12. And, when this part of the service began, the glory of God appeared. Observe,

(1.) It was when they were unanimous, when they were as one, to make one sound. The Holy God descended on the apostles when they met with one accord, Acts 2:1-4. Where unity is the Lord commands the blessing.

(2.) It was when they were lively and hearty, and lifted up their voice to praise the Lord. Then we serve God acceptably when we are fervent in spirit serving him.

(3.) It was when they were, in their praises, celebrating the everlasting mercy and goodness of God. As there is one saying oftener repeated in scripture than this, his mercy endureth for ever (twenty-six times in one psalm, Ps. 136, and often elsewhere), so there is none more signally owned from heaven; for it was not the expression of some rapturous flights that the priests were singing when the glory of God appeared, but this plain song, He is good, and his mercy endureth for ever. God's goodness is his glory, and he is pleased when we give him the glory of it.

III. What was the effect of it. The priests themselves could not stand to minister, by reason of the cloud (2Chr 5:14), which, as it was an evidence that the law made men priests that had infirmity, so (as bishop Patrick observes) it was a plain intimation that the Levitical priesthood should cease, and stand no longer to minister, when the Messiah should come, in whom the fulness of the godhead should dwell bodily. In him the glory of God dwelt among us, but covered with a cloud. The Word was made flesh; and when he comes to his temple, like a refiner's fire, who may abide the day of his coming? And who shall stand when he appeareth? Mal. 3:1, 2.

2 Chronicles 5:12 and all the Levitical singers, Asaph, Heman, Jeduthun, and their sons and kinsmen, clothed in fine linen, with cymbals, harps and lyres, standing east of the altar, and with them one hundred and twenty priests blowing trumpets

  • the Levites (KJV): 2Ch 29:25 1Ch 15:16-22 16:4-6,41,42 23:5,30 25:1-7 Ezr 3:10,11 
  • Asaph (KJV): 1Ch 6:33,39 25:6 Ps 50:1 62:1 88:1 *titles
  • arrayed (KJV): 1Ch 15:27 Rev 15:6 19:8 
  • cymbals (KJV): Ps 92:3 149:3 150:3-5 
  • an hundred (KJV): Nu 10:1-5 Jos 6:6-20 1Ch 15:24 16:6 Ps 68:25 

and all the Levitical singers, Asaph, Heman, Jeduthun, and their sons and kinsmen, clothed in fine linen, with cymbals, harps and lyres, standing east of the altar, and with them one hundred and twenty priests blowing trumpets

Geoffrey Kirkland: 9 Distinctives of the singing of God’s people (from 2Ch 5:12-13):

  1. It’s CONGREGATIONAL —- many priests, leaders, 120 priests, the singers
  2. It’s PURE — they sanctified themselves
  3. It’s LOFTY — they were dressed/clothed in fine linen (Rev.19.8)
  4. It’s ORCHESTRAL — cymbals, harps, lyres, trumpets, cymbals, instruments of music
  5. It’s LOUD — cymbals and trumpets
  6. It’s VOCAL (singing/one voice) — singers were to make themselves heard
  7. It’s GOD-CENTERED — with one voice to praise and to glorify the LORD
  8. It’s WORSHIPFUL —they praised the LORD
  9. It’s BIBLICAL — quoting previous biblical truth from Psalms (e.g, Ps 136:1, etc).

2 Chronicles 5:13 in unison when the trumpeters and the singers were to make themselves heard with one voice to praise and to glorify the LORD, and when they lifted up their voice accompanied by trumpets and cymbals and instruments of music, and when they praised the LORD saying, “He indeed is good for His lovingkindness is everlasting,” then the house, the house of the LORD, was filled with a cloud,

  • as one (KJV): Ps 95:1,2 100:1,2 Isa 52:8 Jer 32:39 Ac 4:32 Ro 15:6 Rev 5:8-14 
  • with the trumpets (KJV): Ps 68:25,26 
  • he is good (KJV): 2Ch 7:3 20:21 1Ch 16:34-41 Ezr 3:11 Ps 136:1-26 Jer 33:11 
  • then the house (KJV): Ex 40:34,35 1Ki 8:10-12 

in unison when the trumpeters and the singers were to make themselves heard with one voice to praise and to glorify the LORD, and when they lifted up their voice accompanied by trumpets and cymbals and instruments of music, and when they praised the LORD saying, “He indeed is good for His lovingkindness is everlasting,” then the house, the house of the LORD, was filled with a cloud,

Martin Selman: The quotation from the Psalms (2Ch 5:13b) encapsulates in a sentence what the entire temple project was about, that over the years since God’s first promise to David (1 Ch. 17:12), God’s faithful love (Heb. hesed) had ensured the project’s success. Underlying the temple was the person of God. He is good. That is why he responds to Israel’s worship with what later Jews called the shekinah glory (2Ch 5:13c14).

Mark Boda: This phrase links God’s characteristic goodness with the enduring quality of his love. The term “faithful love” (Heb. khesed) refers to God’s faithfulness to the covenant he had established with Israel. Before God favored Israel with his manifest presence in the first Temple, the Levites rehearsed the covenant values that made this experience possible.

John Olley - The coming of the “glory of the Lord” meant that, as at the tabernacle (Ex. 40:34–35), human activity could not continue as usual. For his presence to come so clearly was evidence that the Lord accepted the temple as a settled replacement for the mobile tabernacle (1 Chron. 17:3–6, 12). “Clouds” appear often in Scripture as a sign of the glorious presence of God, visibly present yet veiled from human eyes (e.g., Ex. 13:21–22; 40:34–38; Pss. 97:2; 104:3; Ezek. 1:4; 10:3–4; Dan. 7:13; Matt. 17:5; 24:30; Rev. 10:1). Importantly for the Chronicler’s hearers, for whom the ark is no more, it was “when the song was raised” that “the glory of the Lord filled the house of God” (2 Chron. 5:13– 14). Song continued to accompany God’s glory as the people later joined in praise (2Ch 7:3). God’s presence as King was indeed surrounded by praise (Ps 9:11; 22:3). Here is encouragement to continue praising God: in song God’s glory is proclaimed as people pray for his glory to return.

Frederick Mabie: Music was an important dimension of worship in ancient Near Eastern cultures, and a wide variety of musical instruments were employed. Music was also used to motivate work, as attested in the use of music in the repairing and restoration of Yahweh’s temple during Josiah’s reforms (2Ch 34:12–13). Stringed instruments ranged from those with three to ten strings mounted on wooden frames and having various shapes and sizes. Cymbals were typically forged from bronze, while trumpets were made of various metals, such as seen in the large silver trumpet found in King Tutankhamun’s tomb.

C H Spurgeon - Temple glories (sermon)

‘They … praised the LORD, saying, For he is good; for his mercy endureth for ever.’ 2 Chronicles 5:13; 7:3

The more Scriptural our hymns are the better. In fact there will never be found music which can excel old David’s Psalms. Let us interpret them in an evangelical spirit, let us fill them full of the gospel of Christ, of which they are, indeed, already full in prophecy, and we shall sing the very words of the Spirit, and shall surely edify each other and glorify our God. If, then, our music has been scriptural, if our praise has been hearty, if our song has been unanimous, if we have sung of that mercy which endureth for ever, we have good cause to expect that God will manifest himself to us, and faith will perceive the cloud. That is a grand old Calvinistic Psalm, ‘His mercy endureth for ever.’ What Arminian can sing that? Well, he will sing it, I dare say; but if he be a thoroughgoing Arminian he really cannot enjoy it and believe it. You can fall from grace, can you? Then how does his mercy endure for ever? Christ bought with his blood some that will be lost in hell, did he? Then how did his mercy endure for ever? There are some who resist the offers of divine grace, despite all that the Spirit of God can do for them, yet disappoint the Spirit and defeat God, are there? How then does his mercy endure for ever? No, no, this is no hymn for you, this is the Calvinist’s hymn. This is the hymn which you and I will sing as long as life shall last, and going through the dark valley of the shadow of death we will make the shades resound with the joyous strain—‘For his mercies shall endure ever faithful, ever sure.’

FOR MEDITATION: Genuine Christians will persevere as the result of being united with Christ in the likeness of his resurrection (Romans 6:5); Christ will die no more and over him death has no more dominion; that is the nature of the eternal life Christians live with him (Romans 6:8–9). Rejoice in the one who said ‘Fear not; … I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore.’ (Revelation 1:17–18)

Thank God For Music

When the trumpeters and singers were as one, . . . the glory of the Lord filled the house of God. —2 Chronicles 5:13-14

Today's Scripture: 2 Chronicles 5:7-14

Music plays a big part in the Bible. From Genesis to Revelation, God enlists musicians to work on His behalf. He uses music to call people to worship and to send them to war, to soothe ragged emotions and to ignite spiritual passion, to celebrate victories and to mourn losses. Music is an all-occasion, all-inclusive art form. There are followers and leaders, simple songs and complex songs, easy instruments and difficult instruments, melodies and harmonies, fast rhythms and slow rhythms, high notes and low notes.

Music is a wonderful metaphor for the church because everyone participates by doing what he or she does best. We all sing or play different notes at different times, but we all perform the same song. The better we know our parts, and the better we follow the conductor, the more beautiful the music.

One of the best uses for music is praise. When Solomon’s temple was completed, the musicians praised and thanked God. As they did, “the glory of the Lord filled the house of God” (2 Chron. 5:14).

We thank God for beautiful music, for it’s like a preview of heaven, where the glory of God will dwell forever and where praise for Him will never cease.By:  Julie Ackerman Link (Reprinted by permission from Our Daily Bread Ministries. Please do not repost the full devotional without their permission.)

F B Meyer - Then the House was filled with a Cloud. 

This was the bright Shekinah cloud, the symbol of the Divine Presence, which had shone for Moses in the bush, and led the march through the desert. It was as though God had found a rest. And as it settled upon the Most Holy Place, it was as though God said, This is my rest forever; here will I dwell, for I have desired it.

The Most Holy Place is the symbol of our spirit, meant to be the abiding-place and home of God; and shall we not invite the blessed Shekinah cloud to enter thither, addressing it in the words of the Psalm, “Arise, O Lord, into thy resting-place, Thou and the ark of Thy strength.” Because where He comes to abide He abundantly blesses the provision, and satisfies the poor with bread; He clothes His priests with salvation, and makes His saints shout aloud for joy: He erects the horn of strength and prepares the lamp of light. What were the conditions of this incoming?—

First, UNITY.— “The trumpeters and singers were as one.” We must put away strife, divisions, variance, and evil-speaking. Our heart and life must be full of love. When the disciples were with one accord, in one place, the Spirit descended.

Second, HEARTINESS.— “They lifted up their voice.” There was every symptom of sincerity and fervor.

Third, THANKSGIVING AND PRAISE.— “They praised the Lord, saying, He is good, for His mercy endureth forever.” No refrain occurs oftener in the Bible than this. It is an exquisite expression of the heart’s joy and rest in God. Let us sing it in our darkest, as well as gladdest hours, full of trust, thanksgiving, and praise.

James Butler - THE PRESENCE OF GOD 2 Chronicles 5:13 (Sermon Starters)

“It came even to pass, as the trumpeters and singers were as one, to make one sound to be heard in praising and thanking the LORD; and when they lifted up their voice with the trumpets and cymbals and instruments of musick, and praised the LORD, saying, For he is good; for his mercy endureth forever; that then the house was filled with a cloud, even the house of the Lord” (2 Chronicles 5:13).

If the presence of God did not come to the Temple, all the building of the Temple would have been vain. The Temple was built for the presence of God. Solomon and the people wanted God with them. That is more than you can say for much of our land. Most people, as illustrated by out court decisions, do not want the presence of God. In fact, they don’t want any reminders of God around. But unless the presence of God comes upon us, we are doomed to a barren and meaningless existence and a terrible judgment for eternity. We note two things in our text that must occur before God’s presence comes to the Temple or to any place or people.


“Trumpeters and singers were as one.” Yes, this speaks primarily of the music involved. There was to be harmony in the music. The instruments and the voices were to go together. They were to be in the same key. Once in my Detroit church the organist played in one key and the pianist stubbornly played in another key. The incident happened during an invitation in evangelistic services. We replaced the piano player. In principle this oneness of the music speaks of attitude of the people. There must be an agreeing attitude that wants the presence of God. When the great blessing came upon the people at Pentecost, it was when the people assembled were “all with one accord in one place” (Acts 2:1). This unity is not to be confused with the ecumenical movement which attempts to bring unity among true and false and good and evil. Unity will never occur in our churches unless we throw out the dissidents who cause so much friction in the church.


“Thanking the Lord … praised the Lord, saying, For He is good.” Before the presence of God comes upon the people (the temple here) there must be honor for God. God does not bless people with His presence unless He is honored.
• Praise for the conduct of God. “Thanking the Lord.” Some of the Hallelujah was to be thanksgiving. When we thank God we praise Him. We have much to thank Him for in our lives.
• Praise for the character of God. “He is good.” The world is not so sure that God is good. If anything goes wrong, they blame all their troubles on God which does not say, “He is good.”
• Praise for the compassion of God. “His mercy endureth.” Indeed apart from His mercy, we would all be annihilated. Any blessing we receive is a result of His mercy.

2 Chronicles 5:14 so that the priests could not stand to minister because of the cloud, for the glory of the LORD filled the house of God.

  • the priests (KJV): 2Ch 7:2 1Ti 6:16 
  • the glory (KJV): Ex 40:35 Isa 6:1-4 Eze 10:4 Rev 15:8 

so that the priests could not stand to minister because of the cloud - This is the famous Shekinah glory, which marked the visible evidence of the presence of the LORD and also was a sign of His approval of the Temple. 

For the glory of the LORD filled the house of God - Where is the "house of God" today? The bodies of believers are His temple today. This begs the question, does His Spirit daily fill you and control you? 

After the declaration of God’s attributes of goodness and love (ḥesed), the temple is filled with a cloud, reminiscent of the cloud that filled the tabernacle in the wilderness following its completion (cf. Ex 40:34–35). Similarly, at the beginning of 2Ch 6 Solomon notes that “the LORD has said that he would dwell in a dark cloud” The cloud communicates the awesomeness of God’s presence and his unapproachable glory.

Defender's Study Bible - With the coming of the Shekinah glory, God thus showed His acceptance of the temple as His symbolic dwelling place, just as He had the tabernacle in the wilderness (Exodus 40:34). As the glory once departed when the ark was taken from the tabernacle by the Philistines (1 Samuel 4:22), so also it later departed when Solomon's temple (SEE Departure of the Glory of Jehovah from Solomon's Temple) was plundered and the people taken away to Babylon (2 Chronicles 36:17-20; Ezekiel 10:18;11:23). The glory returned for a time when "the Word was made flesh, and tabernacled among us, and we beheld His glory...", at least, in a spiritual sense (John 1:14). It will be present forever in the heavenly temple, the New Jerusalem, when it comes to Earth, "having the glory of God" (Revelation 21:11).

Believer's Study Bible - The cloud of the glory of the Lord was visibly present with His people at the dedication of the temple, just as it was during their deliverance from Egypt (cf. 2Ch 7:1-3; Ex. 13:21, 22; 14:19, 20, 24; 19:16; 24:16-18; 40:34-38; Num. 10:11, 12, 34; Deut. 4:11; 5:22; 31:14, 15; 1 Kin. 8:11). The purpose of the glory-cloud was not to indicate that God had just arrived, since He is omnipresent. Rather, the cloud was a visual symbol of God's dynamic presence, a pledge of His redemptive activity on behalf of Israel, and a sign of the acceptability of the new temple and its worship (cf. Num. 9:15, note). As in the days of Moses, Israel was experiencing a new beginning with new possibilities.




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