Matthew Henry's Complete Commentary

Verses 12-22 (2 Chronicles 7:12-22)

That God accepted Solomon?s prayer appeared by the fire from heaven. But a prayer may be accepted and yet not answered in the letter of it; and therefore God appeared to him in the night, as he did once before (2 Chron. 1:7), and after a day of sacrifice too, as then, and gave him a peculiar answer to his prayer. We had the substance of it before, 1 Kgs. 9:2-9.

I. He promised to own this house for a house of sacrifice to Israel and a house of prayer for all people (Isa. 56:7): My name shall be there for ever (2 Chron. 7:12, 16), that is, ?There will I make myself known, and there will I be called upon.?

II. He promised to answer the prayers of his people that should at any time be made in that place, 2 Chron. 7:13-15. National judgments are here supposed (2 Chron. 7:13), famine, and pestilence, and perhaps war, for by the locusts devouring the land meant enemies as greedy as locusts, and laying all waste. 2. National repentance, prayer, and reformation, are required, 2 Chron. 7:14. God expects that his people who are called by his name, if they have dishonoured his name by their iniquity, should honour it by accepting the punishment of their iniquity. They must be humble themselves under his hand, must pray for the removal of the judgment, must seek the face and favour of God; and yet all this will not do unless they turn from their wicked ways, and return to the God from whom they have revolted. 3. National mercy is then promised, that God will forgive their sin, which brought the judgment upon them, and then heal their land, redress all their grievances. Pardoning mercy makes ways for healing mercy, Ps. 103:3; Matt. 9:2.

III. He promised to perpetuate Solomon?s kingdom, upon condition that he persevered in his duty, 2 Chron. 7:17, 18. If he hoped for the benefit of God?s covenant with David, he must imitate the example of David. But he set before him death as well as life, the curse as well as the blessing. 1. He supposed it possible that though they had this temple built to the honour of God, yet they might be drawn aside to worship other gods, 2 Chron. 7:19. He knew their proneness to backslide into that sin. 2. He threatened it as certain that, if they did so, it would certainly be the ruin of both church and state. (1.) It would be the ruin of their state, 2 Chron. 7:20. ?Though they have taken deep root, and taken root long, in this good land, yet I will pluck them up by the roots, extirpate the whole nation, pluck them up as men pluck up weeds out of their garden, which are thrown to the dunghill.? (2.) It would be the ruin of their church. This sanctuary would be no sanctuary to them, to protect them from the judgment of God, as they imagined, saying, The temple of the Lord are we, Jer. 7:4. ?This house which is high, not only for the magnificence of its structure, but for the designed ends and uses of it, shall be an astonishment, it shall come down wonderfully (Lam. 1:9), to the amazement of all the neighbours.?

- Matthew Henry's Complete Commentary