Our reading today begins with the Ark being brought into the now-completed Temple (5:2). The chronicler is careful to point out that the Ark is carried by Levites (v. 4). We also see the music that was played before the Lord (vv. 12-13) containing the famous refrain of David which he sung when the Ark first came to Jerusalem (1 Chr 16:34 – see also Ps 106:1, 107:1, 118:1, 118:29, 136:1), during which the glory cloud entered the Temple (vv. 13-14).
Chapter 6 retells what we read in 1 Kings 8:12-50, with a few exceptions. In 6:5-6, we see what Solomon said that is abridged in 1 Kings 8:16. In verse 13 we see the special platform that Solomon made for the occasion and that he got on his knees for his dedication prayer (which is only mentioned as an afterthought in 1 Kings 8:54). The end of the prayer (vv. 40-42) is here different than 1 Kings 8:50-53. While this was all said, the two writers chose different parts of the prayer to record. Here, the chronicler ends with Solomon’s plea for God to hear four requests: for God to dwell among His people (v. 41), for the priests to be the instruments of His salvation, for His people to rejoice in His goodness, and for Him to remember the covenant He made with David (v. 42).
Chapter 7 begins by telling us that when Solomon had finished his prayer, fire came from heaven and consumed the offerings (7:1). This is left out by the writer of 1 Kings. This is similar to how the chronicler tells us that this happened on the altar David had built on this spot (compare 1 Chr 21:26 and 2 Sam 24:25). The chronicler in both places is making a theological point. The only other place this happens on the altar of burnt offering is in Leviticus 9:24, which was Aaron’s first offering after his consecration as High Priest. As we have seen, both David and Solomon acted as priest during their reign. The chronicler is focusing on the Davidic line and their true claim to the throne over God’s people, as proven by God’s acceptance of them as priests. This is a subtle way of saying that the northern kingdom, which is no more since the Assyrian invasion, is inconsequential to the plan of God. It is also saying that though the monarchy is gone, there is continuity between the worshippers under Solomon (at the height of the kingdom) and the returning remnant.
But there’s more, because what we see in David and Solomon is that the roles of priest and king are combined. This is, of course, a pointer forward to the Greater Son of David – Christ – Who is the fulfillment of the priesthood and the royal line as our High Priest and King.
We have here added into the account of the dedication of the Temple another mention of the music that was played (v. 6). We are told that the Levites used the instruments made by David to be used for worship, and that when they offered praises, it was really David offering praises through them (literally, “by their hand”). The chronicler is pointing to the continuation of David’s ministry even after his death. He is telling the returning remnant that they are the continuation of God’s people and the carriers of the Davidic Covenant. There is a Messianic hope expressed in this.
In verse 11, we get a passing comment about the building of the palace (detailed in 1 Kings 7:1-12). Again, this is written from a very priestly point of view. Once again, the idea is that the monarchy was secondary to the worship through the priesthood. Solomon is the priest here more than the king. The point is that the returning remnant did not need a king to be the people of God as long as they worshiped Him as He prescribed. In verse 12, we see that God is answering Solomon’s prayer of 6:41. What God says here is slightly different from what we read in 1 Kings 9:1-9. Again, all of this was said, but the writers record only what makes their point. In 1 Kings, the emphasis is on the punishment for disobedience. Here, the chronicler adds in what God said regarding restoration if God’s people repent (vv. 13-14), which is what he wants to communicate to the returning remnant.