Isaiah 66 begins with an obvious allusion to this prayer. Yahweh claims to sit enthroned in heaven and use earth as His footstool (v. 1), and adds that, gargantuan as He is, He is uncontainable by any house that Israel might make for Him (v. 1). Solomon already knew this: “Behold heaven and the highest heaven cannot contain Thee, how much less this house which I have built” (1 Kings 8:27). 

If the house cannot contain Yahweh, at least it can be the focus of His attention, so Solomon asks that Yahweh’s eyes be toward the temple in Jerusalem, so that He will hear and see what happens there (1 Kings 8:29). Yahweh does Solomon one better, promising that His eyes and His heart will be there forever (1 Kings 9:3).

Isaiah 66 alludes also to this part of the dedication prayer, but in a new way. Yahweh’s eyes will be focused on His temple, but according to Isaiah the temple is no longer the building. Rather, Yahweh promises to “look” to those who fulfill a triple qualification: those who are humble, contrite, and who tremble at His Word (66:2). These form His new temple, and that’s where His eyes, ears, and heart will be. 

Yahweh’s heart will no longer dwell in a temple of stone, but His heart will be in the flesh of His people. 

Articles by Peter J. Leithart

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