We read before that Judah and Israel were eating and drinking, and very cheerful under their own vines and fig-trees; here we have them so in God’s courts. Now they found Solomon’s words true concerning Wisdom’s ways, that they are ways of pleasantness.
I. They had abundant joy and satisfaction while they attended at God’s house, for there, 1. Solomon offered a great sacrifice, 22,000 oxen and 120,000 sheep, enough to have drained the country of cattle if it had not been a very fruitful land. The heathen thought themselves very generous when they offered sacrifices by hundreds (hecatombs they called them), but Solomon out-did them: he offered them by thousands. When Moses dedicated his altar, the peace-offerings were twenty-four bullocks, and of rams, goats, and lambs, 180 (Num. 7:88); then the people were poor, but now that they had increased in wealth more was expected from them. Where God sows plentifully he must reap accordingly. All these sacrifices could not be offered in one day, but in the several days of the feast. Thirty oxen a day served Solomon’s table, but thousands shall go to God’s altar. Few are thus minded, to spend more on their souls than on their bodies. The flesh of the peace-offerings, which belonged to the offerer, it is likely, Solomon treated the people with. Christ fed those who attended him. The brazen altar was not large enough to receive all these sacrifices, so that, to serve the present occasion, they were forced to offer many of them in the middle of the court, (1 Kgs. 8:64), some think on altars, altars of earth or stone, erected for the purpose and taken down when the solemnity was over, others think on the bare ground. Those that will be generous in serving God need not stint themselves for want of room and occasion to be so. 2. He kept a feast, the feast of tabernacles, as it should seem, after the feast of dedication, and both together lasted fourteen days (1 Kgs. 8:65), yet they said not, Behold, what a weariness is this!
II. They carried this joy and satisfaction with them to their own houses. When they were dismissed they blessed the king (1 Kgs. 8:66), applauded him, admired him, and returned him the thanks of the congregation, and then went to their tents joyful and glad of heart, all easy and pleased. God’s goodness was the matter of their joy, so it should be of ours at all times. They rejoiced in God’s blessing both on the royal family and on the kingdom; thus should we go home rejoicing from holy ordinances, and go on our way rejoicing for God’s goodness to our Lord Jesus (of whom David his servant was a type, in the advancement and establishment of his throne, pursuant to the covenant of redemption), and to all believers, his spiritual Israel, in their sanctification and consolation, pursuant to the covenant of grace. If we rejoice not herein always it is our own fault.