Then King Solomon summoned all the leaders of the tribes and clans of Israel to come to him in Jerusalem in order to take the LORD's Covenant Box from Zion, David's City, to the Temple. 2
They all assembled during the Festival of Shelters in the seventh month, in the month of Ethanim. 3When all the leaders had gathered, the priests lifted the Covenant Box 4and carried it to the Temple. The Levites and the priests also moved the Tent of the LORD's presence and all its equipment to the Temple. 5King Solomon and all the people of Israel assembled in front of the Covenant Box and sacrificed a large number of sheep and cattle — too many to count. 6Then the priests carried the Covenant Box into the Temple and put it in the Most Holy Place, beneath the winged creatures. 7Their outstretched wings covered the box and the poles it was carried by. 8The ends of the poles could be seen by anyone standing directly in front of the Most Holy Place, but from nowhere else. (The poles are still there today.) 9
There was nothing inside the Covenant Box except the two stone tablets which Moses had placed there at Mount Sinai, when the LORD made a covenant with the people of Israel as they were coming from Egypt.
As the priests were leaving the Temple, it was suddenly filled with a cloud 11shining with the dazzling light of the LORD's presence, and they could not go back in to perform their duties. 12
Then Solomon prayed:
“You, LORD, have placed the sun in the sky,8.12 One ancient translation You… sky; Hebrew does not have these words.
yet you have chosen to live in clouds and darkness.
13Now I have built a majestic temple for you,
a place for you to live in for ever.”
14As the people stood there, King Solomon turned to face them, and he asked God's blessing on them. 15He said, “Praise the LORD God of Israel! He has kept the promise he made to my father David, when he said, 16
‘From the time I brought my people out of Egypt, I have not chosen any city in all the land of Israel in which a temple should be built where I would be worshipped. But I chose you, David, to rule my people.’ ”
And Solomon continued, “My father David planned to build a temple for the worship of the LORD God of Israel, 18but the LORD said to him, ‘You were right in wanting to build a temple for me, 19
but you will never build it. It is your son, your own son, who will build my temple.’
20“And now the LORD has kept his promise. I have succeeded my father as king of Israel, and I have built the Temple for the worship of the LORD God of Israel. 21I have also provided a place in the Temple for the Covenant Box containing the stone tablets of the covenant which the LORD made with our ancestors when he brought them out of Egypt.”
22Then in the presence of the people Solomon went and stood in front of the altar, where he raised his arms 23and prayed, “LORD God of Israel, there is no god like you in heaven above or on earth below! You keep your covenant with your people and show them your love when they live in wholehearted obedience to you. 24You have kept the promise you made to my father David; today every word has been fulfilled. 25
And now, LORD God of Israel, I pray that you will also keep the other promise you made to my father when you told him that there would always be one of his descendants ruling as king of Israel, provided they obeyed you as carefully as he did. 26So now, O God of Israel, let everything come true that you promised to my father David, your servant.
“But can you, O God, really live on earth? Not even all heaven is large enough to hold you, so how can this Temple that I have built be large enough? 28LORD my God, I am your servant. Listen to my prayer, and grant the requests I make to you today. 29
Watch over this Temple day and night, this place where you have chosen to be worshipped. Hear me when I face this Temple and pray. 30Hear my prayers and the prayers of your people when they face this place and pray. In your home in heaven hear us and forgive us.
31“When a person is accused of wronging another and is brought to your altar in this Temple to take an oath that he is innocent, 32O LORD, listen in heaven and judge your servants. Punish the guilty one as he deserves, and acquit the one who is innocent.
33“When your people Israel are defeated by their enemies because they have sinned against you, and then when they turn to you and come to this Temple, humbly praying to you for forgiveness, 34listen to them in heaven. Forgive the sins of your people, and bring them back to the land which you gave to their ancestors.
35“When you hold back the rain because your people have sinned against you, and then when they repent and face this Temple, humbly praying to you, 36listen to them in heaven. Forgive the sins of the king and of the people of Israel. Teach them to do what is right. Then, O LORD, send rain on this land of yours, which you gave to your people as a permanent possession.
37“When there is famine in the land or an epidemic, or the crops are destroyed by scorching winds or swarms of locusts, or when your people are attacked by their enemies, or when there is disease or sickness among them, 38listen to their prayers. If any of your people Israel, out of heartfelt sorrow, stretch out their hands in prayer towards this Temple, 39hear their prayer. Listen to them in your home in heaven, forgive them, and help them. You alone know the thoughts of the human heart. Deal with each person as he deserves, 40so that your people may obey you all the time they live in the land which you gave to our ancestors.
41-42“When a foreigner who lives in a distant land hears of your fame and of the great things you have done for your people, and comes to worship you and to pray at this Temple, 43listen to his prayer. In heaven, where you live, hear him and do what he asks you to do, so that all the peoples of the world may know you and obey you, as your people Israel do. Then they will know that this Temple I have built is the place where you are to be worshipped.
44“When you command your people to go into battle against their enemies and they pray to you, wherever they are, facing this city which you have chosen and this Temple which I have built for you, 45listen to their prayers. Hear them in heaven, and give them victory.
46“When your people sin against you — and there is no one who does not sin — and in your anger you let their enemies defeat them and take them as prisoners to some other land, even if that land is far away, 47listen to your people's prayers. If there in that land they repent and pray to you, confessing how sinful and wicked they have been, hear their prayers, O LORD. 48If in that land they truly and sincerely repent, and pray to you as they face towards this land which you gave to our ancestors, this city which you have chosen, and this Temple which I have built for you, 49then listen to their prayers. In your home in heaven hear them and be merciful to them. 50Forgive all their sins and their rebellion against you, and make their enemies treat them with kindness. 51They are your own people, whom you brought out of Egypt, that blazing furnace.
52“Sovereign LORD, may you always look with favour on your people Israel and their king, and hear their prayer whenever they call to you for help. 53You chose them from all the peoples to be your own people, as you told them through your servant Moses when you brought our ancestors out of Egypt.”
54After Solomon had finished praying to the LORD, he stood up in front of the altar, where he had been kneeling with uplifted hands. 55In a loud voice he asked God's blessings on all the people assembled there. He said, 56
“Praise the LORD who has given his people peace, as he promised he would. He has kept all the generous promises he made through his servant Moses. 57May the LORD our God be with us, as he was with our ancestors; may he never leave us, or abandon us; 58may he make us obedient to him, so that we will always live as he wants us to live, and keep all the laws and commands he gave our ancestors. 59May the LORD our God remember at all times this prayer and these petitions I have made to him. May he always be merciful to the people of Israel and to their king, according to their daily needs. 60And so all the nations of the world will know that the LORD alone is God — there is no other. 61May you, his people, always be faithful to the LORD our God, obeying all his laws and commands, as you do today.”
62Then King Solomon and all the people there offered sacrifices to the LORD. 63He sacrificed 22,000 head of cattle and 120,000 sheep as fellowship offerings. And so the king and all the people dedicated the Temple. 64That same day he also consecrated the central part of the courtyard, the area in front of the Temple, and then he offered there the sacrifices burnt whole, the grain offerings, and the fat of the animals for the fellowship offerings. He did this because the bronze altar was too small for all these offerings.
65There at the Temple, Solomon and all the people of Israel celebrated the Festival of Shelters for seven8.65 One ancient translation seven; Hebrew fourteen. days. There was a huge crowd of people from as far away as Hamath Pass in the north and the Egyptian border in the south. 66On the eighth day Solomon sent the people home. They all praised him and went home happy because of all the blessings that the LORD had given his servant David and his people Israel.
91After King Solomon had finished building the Temple and the palace and everything else he wanted to build, 2
the LORD appeared to him again, as he had in Gibeon. 3The LORD said to him, “I have heard your prayer. I consecrate this Temple which you have built as the place where I shall be worshipped for ever. I will watch over it and protect it for all time. 4If you will serve me in honesty and integrity, as your father David did, and if you obey my laws and do everything I have commanded you, 5
I will keep the promise I made to your father David when I told him that Israel would always be ruled by his descendants. 6But if you or your descendants stop following me, if you disobey the laws and commands I have given you, and worship other gods, 7then I will remove my people Israel from the land that I have given them. I will also abandon this Temple which I have consecrated as the place where I am to be worshipped. People everywhere will ridicule Israel and treat her with contempt. 8
This Temple will become a pile of ruins,9.8 Some ancient translations a pile of ruins; Hebrew high. and everyone who passes by will be shocked and amazed. ‘Why did the LORD do this to this land and this Temple?’ they will ask. 9People will answer, ‘It is because they abandoned the LORD their God, who brought their ancestors out of Egypt. They gave their allegiance to other gods and worshipped them. That is why the LORD has brought this disaster on them.’ ”
10It took Solomon twenty years to build the Temple and his palace. 11King Hiram of Tyre had provided him with all the cedar and pine and with all the gold he wanted for this work. After it was finished, King Solomon gave Hiram twenty towns in the region of Galilee. 12Hiram went to see them, and he did not like them. 13So he said to Solomon, “So these, my brother, are the towns you have given me!” For this reason the area is still called Cabul.9.13 Cabul: This name sounds like “ke-bal”, the Hebrew for “worthless”. 14Hiram had sent Solomon more than four tonnes of gold.
15King Solomon used forced labour to build the Temple and the palace, to fill in land on the east side of the city, and to build the city wall. He also used it to rebuild the cities of Hazor, Megiddo, and Gezer. 16(The king of Egypt had attacked Gezer and captured it, killing its inhabitants and setting fire to the city. Then he gave it as a wedding present to his daughter when she married Solomon, 17and Solomon rebuilt it.) Using his forced labour, Solomon also rebuilt Lower Beth Horon, 18Baalath, Tamar in the Judean wilderness, 19the cities where his supplies were kept, the cities for his horses and chariots, and everything else he wanted to build in Jerusalem, in Lebanon, and elsewhere in his kingdom. 20-21For his forced labour Solomon used the descendants of the people of Canaan whom the Israelites had not killed when they took possession of their land. These included Amorites, Hittites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites, whose descendants continue to be slaves down to the present time. 22Solomon did not make slaves of Israelites; they served as his soldiers, officers, commanders, chariot captains, and horsemen.
23There were 550 officials in charge of the forced labour working on Solomon's various building projects.
24Solomon filled in the land on the east side of the city, after his wife, the daughter of the king of Egypt, had moved from David's City to the palace Solomon built for her.
Three times a year Solomon offered burnt offerings and fellowship offerings on the altar he had built to the LORD. He also burnt incense9.25 Hebrew has two additional words, the meaning of which is unclear. to the LORD. And so he finished building the Temple.
26King Solomon also built a fleet of ships at Eziongeber, which is near Elath, on the shore of the Gulf of Aqaba, in the land of Edom. 27King Hiram sent some experienced seamen from his fleet to serve with Solomon's men. 28They sailed to the land of Ophir, and brought back to Solomon more than fourteen tonnes of gold.
The queen of Sheba heard of Solomon's fame,10.1 Probable text (see 2 Chr 9.1) Solomon's fame; Hebrew Solomon's fame concerning the name of the LORD. and she travelled to Jerusalem to test him with difficult questions. 2She brought with her a large group of attendants, as well as camels loaded with spices, jewels, and a large amount of gold. When she and Solomon met, she asked him all the questions that she could think of. 3He answered them all; there was nothing too difficult for him to explain. 4The queen of Sheba heard Solomon's wisdom and saw the palace he had built. 5She saw the food that was served at his table, the living quarters for his officials, the organization of his palace staff and the uniforms they wore, the servants who waited on him at feasts, and the sacrifices he offered in the Temple. It left her breathless and amazed. 6She said to King Solomon, “What I heard in my own country about you10.6 you; or your deeds. and your wisdom is true! 7But I couldn't believe it until I had come and seen it all for myself. But I didn't hear even half of it; your wisdom and wealth are much greater than what I was told. 8How fortunate are your wives!10.8 Some ancient translations wives; Hebrew men. And how fortunate your servants, who are always in your presence and are privileged to hear your wise sayings! 9Praise the LORD your God! He has shown how pleased he is with you by making you king of Israel. Because his love for Israel is eternal, he has made you their king so that you can maintain law and justice.”
10She presented to King Solomon the gifts she had brought: more than four tonnes of gold and a very large amount of spices and jewels. The amount of spices she gave him was by far the greatest that he ever received at any time.
11(Hiram's fleet, which had brought gold from Ophir, also brought from there a large amount of juniper wood and jewels. 12Solomon used the wood to build railings in the Temple and the palace, and also to make harps and lyres for the musicians. It was the finest juniper wood ever imported into Israel; none like it has ever been seen again.)
13King Solomon gave the queen of Sheba everything she asked for, besides all the other customary gifts that he had generously given her. Then she and her attendants returned to the land of Sheba.
14Every year King Solomon received almost 23 tonnes of gold 15in addition to the taxes10.15 Some ancient translations taxes; Hebrew men. paid by merchants, the profits from trade, and tribute paid by the Arabian kings and the governors of the Israelite districts.
16Solomon made 200 large shields, and had each one overlaid with almost seven kilogrammes of gold. 17He also made 300 smaller shields, overlaying each one of them with almost two kilogrammes of gold. He had all these shields placed in the Hall of the Forest of Lebanon.10.17 Hall of the Forest of Lebanon: See 7.2–3.
18He also had a large throne made. Part of it was covered with ivory and the rest of it was covered with the finest gold. 19-20The throne had six steps leading up to it, with the figure of a lion at each end of every step, a total of twelve lions. At the back of the throne was the figure of a bull's head, and beside each of the two arms was the figure of a lion. No throne like this had ever existed in any other kingdom.
21All of Solomon's drinking cups were made of gold, and all the utensils in the Hall of the Forest of Lebanon were of pure gold. No silver was used, since it was not considered valuable in Solomon's day. 22He had a fleet of ocean-going ships sailing with Hiram's fleet. Every three years his fleet would return, bringing gold, silver, ivory, apes, and monkeys.
23King Solomon was richer and wiser than any other king, 24and the whole world wanted to come and listen to the wisdom that God had given him. 25Everyone who came brought him a gift — articles of silver and gold, robes, weapons, spices, horses, and mules. This continued year after year.
Solomon built up a force of 1,400 chariots and 12,000 cavalry horses. Some of them he kept in Jerusalem and the rest he stationed in various other cities. 27During his reign silver was as common in Jerusalem as stone, and cedar was as plentiful as ordinary sycomore in the foothills of Judah. 28
The king's agents controlled the export of horses from Musri10.28 Probable text Musri; Hebrew Egypt. and Cilicia,10.28 Musri and Cilicia: Two ancient countries in what is now south-east Turkey, which were centres of horse breeding in Solomon's time. 29and the export of chariots from Egypt. They supplied the Hittite and Syrian kings with horses and chariots, selling chariots for 600 pieces of silver each and horses for 150 each.