1 Kings 4-8
Contemporary English Version
4 1-6 Here is a list of Solomon’s highest officials while he was king of Israel:
Azariah son of Zadok was the priest;
Elihoreph and Ahijah sons of Shisha were the secretaries;
Jehoshaphat son of Ahilud kept the government records;
Benaiah son of Jehoiada was the army commander;
Zadok and Abiathar were priests;
Azariah son of Nathan was in charge of the regional officers;
Zabud son of Nathan was a priest and the king’s advisor;
Ahishar was the prime minister;
Adoniram son of Abda was in charge of the forced labor.
7 Solomon chose twelve regional officers, who took turns bringing food for him and his household. Each officer provided food from his region for one month of the year. 8 These were the twelve officers:
The son of Hur was in charge of the hill country of Ephraim.
9 The son of Deker was in charge of the towns of Makaz, Shaalbim, Beth-Shemesh, and Elon-Beth-Hanan.
10 The son of Hesed was in charge of the towns of Arubboth and Socoh, and the region of Hepher.
11 The son of Abinadab was in charge of Naphath-Dor and was married to Solomon’s daughter Taphath.
12 Baana son of Ahilud was in charge of the towns of Taanach and Megiddo. He was also in charge of the whole region of Beth-Shan near the town of Zarethan, south of Jezreel from Beth-Shan to Abel-Meholah to the other side of Jokmeam.
13 The son of Geber was in charge of the town of Ramoth in Gilead and the villages in Gilead belonging to the family of Jair, a descendant of Manasseh. He was also in charge of the region of Argob in Bashan, which had sixty walled towns with bronze bars on their gates.
14 Ahinadab son of Iddo was in charge of the territory of Mahanaim.
15 Ahimaaz was in charge of the territory of Naphtali and was married to Solomon’s daughter Basemath.
16 Baana son of Hushai was in charge of the territory of Asher and the town of Bealoth.
17 Jehoshaphat son of Paruah was in charge of the territory of Issachar.
18 Shimei son of Ela was in charge of the territory of Benjamin.
19 Geber son of Uri was in charge of Gilead, where King Sihon of the Amorites and King Og of Bashan had lived.
And one officer was in charge of the territory of Judah.[a]
The Size of Solomon’s Kingdom
20 There were so many people living in Judah and Israel while Solomon was king that they seemed like grains of sand on a beach. Everyone had enough to eat and drink, and they were happy.
21 Solomon ruled every kingdom between the Euphrates River and the land of the Philistines down to Egypt. These kingdoms paid him taxes as long as he lived.
22 Every day, Solomon needed one hundred fifty bushels of fine flour, three hundred bushels of coarsely-ground flour, 23 ten grain-fed cattle, twenty pasture-fed cattle, one hundred sheep, as well as deer, gazelles, and geese.
24 Solomon ruled the whole region west of the Euphrates River, from Tiphsah to Gaza, and he was at peace with all of the countries around him. 25 Everyone living in Israel, from the town of Dan in the north to Beersheba in the south, was safe as long as Solomon lived. Each family sat undisturbed beneath its own grape vines and fig trees.
26 Solomon had forty thousand stalls of chariot horses and twelve thousand chariot soldiers.
27 Each of the twelve regional officers brought food to Solomon and his household for one month of the year. They provided everything he needed, 28 as well as barley and straw for the horses.
29 Solomon was brilliant. God had blessed him with insight and understanding. 30-31 He was wiser than anyone else in the world, including the wisest people of the east and of Egypt. He was even wiser than Ethan the Ezrahite, and Mahol’s three sons, Heman, Calcol, and Darda. Solomon became famous in every country around Judah and Israel. 32 Solomon wrote three thousand wise sayings and composed more than one thousand songs. 33 He could talk about all kinds of plants, from large trees to small bushes, and he taught about animals, birds, reptiles, and fish. 34 Kings all over the world heard about Solomon’s wisdom and sent people to listen to him teach.
Solomon Asks Hiram To Help Build the Temple
5 King Hiram of Tyre[b] had always been friends with Solomon’s father David. When Hiram learned that Solomon was king, he sent some of his officials to meet with Solomon.
2 Solomon sent a message back to Hiram:
3 Remember how my father David wanted to build a temple where the Lord his God could be worshiped? But enemies kept attacking my father’s kingdom, and he never had the chance. 4 Now, thanks to the Lord God, there is peace in my kingdom and no trouble or threat of war anywhere.
5 The Lord God promised my father that when his son became king, he would build a temple for worshiping the Lord. So I’ve decided to do that.
6 I’d like you to have your workers cut down cedar trees in Lebanon for me. I will pay them whatever you say and will even have my workers help them. We both know that your workers are more experienced than anyone else at cutting lumber.
7 Hiram was so happy when he heard Solomon’s request that he said, “I am grateful that the Lord gave David such a wise son to be king of that great nation!” 8 Then he sent back his answer:
I received your message and will give you all the cedar and pine logs you need. 9 My workers will carry them down from Lebanon to the Mediterranean Sea. They will tie the logs together and float them along the coast to wherever you want them. Then they will untie the logs, and your workers can take them from there.
To pay for the logs, you can provide the grain I need for my household.
10 Hiram gave Solomon all the cedar and pine logs he needed. 11 In return, Solomon gave Hiram about one hundred twenty-five thousand bushels of wheat and about one thousand one hundred gallons of pure olive oil each year.
12 The Lord kept his promise and made Solomon wise. Hiram and Solomon signed a treaty and never went to war against each other.
13 Solomon ordered thirty thousand people from all over Israel to cut logs for the temple, 14 and he put Adoniram in charge of these workers. Solomon divided them into three groups of ten thousand. Each group worked one month in Lebanon and had two months off at home.
15 He also had eighty thousand workers to cut stone in the hill country of Israel, seventy thousand workers to carry the stones, 16 and over three thousand assistants to keep track of the work and to supervise the workers. 17 He ordered the workers to cut and shape large blocks of good stone for the foundation of the temple.
18 Solomon’s and Hiram’s men worked with men from the city of Gebal,[c] and together they got the stones and logs ready for the temple.
The Outside of the Temple Is Completed
6 Solomon’s workers started building the temple during Ziv,[d] the second month of the year. It had been four years since Solomon became king of Israel, and four hundred eighty years since the people of Israel left Egypt.
2 The inside of the Lord’s temple was ninety feet long, thirty feet wide, and forty-five feet high. 3 A fifteen-foot porch went all the way across the front of the temple. 4 The windows were narrow on the outside but wide on the inside.
5-6 Along the sides and back of the temple, there were three levels of storage rooms. The rooms on the bottom level were seven and a half feet wide, the rooms on the middle level were nine feet wide, and those on the top level were ten and a half feet wide. There were ledges on the outside of the temple that supported the beams of the storage rooms, so that nothing was built into the temple walls.
7 Solomon did not want the noise of hammers and axes to be heard at the place where the temple was being built. So he had the workers shape the blocks of stone at the quarry.
8 The entrance to the bottom storage rooms was on the south side of the building, and stairs to the other rooms were also there. 9 The roof of the temple was made out of beams and cedar boards.
The workers finished building the outside of the temple. 10 Storage rooms seven and a half feet high were all around the temple, and they were attached to the temple by cedar beams.
11 The Lord told Solomon:
12-13 If you obey my commands and do what I say, I will keep the promise I made to your father David. I will live among my people Israel in this temple you are building, and I will not desert them.
14 So Solomon’s workers finished building the temple.
The Inside of the Temple Is Furnished
15 The floor of the temple was made out of pine, and the walls were lined with cedar from floor to ceiling.[e]
16 The most holy place was in the back of the temple, and it was thirty feet square. Cedar boards standing from floor to ceiling[f] separated it from the rest of the temple. 17 The temple’s main room was sixty feet long, and it was in front of the most holy place.
18 The inside walls were lined with cedar to hide the stones, and the cedar was decorated with carvings of gourds and flowers.
19 The sacred chest was kept in the most holy place. 20-22 This room was thirty feet long, thirty feet wide, and thirty feet high, and it was lined with pure gold. There were also gold chains across the front of the most holy place. The inside of the temple, as well as the cedar altar in the most holy place, was covered with gold.
23 Solomon had two statues of winged creatures[g] made from olive wood to put in the most holy place. Each creature was fifteen feet tall 24-26 and fifteen feet across. They had two wings, and the wings were seven and a half feet long. 27 Solomon put them next to each other in the most holy place. Their wings were spread out and reached across the room. 28 The creatures were also covered with gold.
29 The walls of the two rooms were decorated with carvings of palm trees, flowers, and winged creatures. 30 Even the floor was covered with gold.
31-32 The two doors to the most holy place were made out of olive wood and were decorated with carvings of palm trees, flowers, and winged creatures. The doors and the carvings were covered with gold. The door frame came to a point at the top.
33-34 The two doors to the main room of the temple were made out of pine, and each one had two sections[h] so they could fold open. The door frame was shaped like a rectangle and was made out of olive wood. 35 The doors were covered with gold and were decorated with carvings of palm trees, flowers, and winged creatures.
36 The inner courtyard of the temple had walls made out of three layers of cut stones with one layer of cedar beams.
37 Work began on the temple during Ziv,[i] the second month of the year, four years after Solomon became king of Israel. 38 Seven years later the workers finished building it during Bul,[j] the eighth month of the year. It was built exactly as it had been planned.
Solomon’s Palace Is Built
7 Solomon’s palace took thirteen years to build.
2-3 Forest Hall was the largest room in the palace. It was one hundred fifty feet long, seventy-five feet wide, and forty-five feet high, and was lined with cedar from Lebanon. It had four rows of cedar pillars, fifteen in a row, and they held up forty-five cedar beams. The ceiling was covered with cedar. 4 Three rows of windows on each side faced each other, 5 and there were three doors on each side near the front of the hall.
6 Pillar Hall was seventy-five feet long and forty-five feet wide. A covered porch supported by pillars went all the way across the front of the hall.
7 Solomon’s throne was in Justice Hall, where he judged cases. This hall was completely lined with cedar.
8 The section of the palace where Solomon lived was behind Justice Hall and looked exactly like it. He had a similar place built for his wife, the daughter of the king of Egypt.
9 From the foundation all the way to the top, these buildings and the courtyard were made out of the best stones[k] carefully cut to size, then smoothed on every side with saws. 10 The foundation stones were huge, good stones—some of them fifteen feet long and others twelve feet long. 11 The cedar beams and other stones that had been cut to size were on top of these foundation stones. 12 The walls around the palace courtyard were made out of three layers of cut stones with one layer of cedar beams, just like the front porch and the inner courtyard of the temple.
Hiram Makes the Bronze Furnishings
13-14 Hiram was a skilled bronze worker from the city of Tyre.[l] His father was now dead, but he also had been a bronze worker from Tyre, and his mother was from the tribe of Naphtali.
King Solomon asked Hiram to come to Jerusalem and make the bronze furnishings to use for worship in the Lord’s temple, and he agreed to do it.
15 Hiram made two bronze columns twenty-seven feet tall and about six feet across. 16 For the top of each column, he also made a bronze cap seven and a half feet high. 17 The caps were decorated with seven rows of designs that looked like chains,[m] 18 with two rows of designs that looked like pomegranates.[n]
19 The caps for the columns of the porch were six feet high and were shaped like lilies.[o]
20 The chain designs on the caps were right above the rounded tops of the two columns, and there were two hundred pomegranates in rows around each cap. 21 Hiram placed the two columns on each side of the main door of the temple. The column on the south side was called Jachin,[p] and the one on the north was called Boaz.[q]
22 The lily-shaped caps were on top of the columns.
This completed the work on the columns.
23 Hiram also made a large bowl called the Sea. It was seven and a half feet deep, about fifteen feet across, and forty-five feet around. 24 Two rows of bronze gourds were around the outer edge of the bowl, ten gourds to every eighteen inches. 25 The bowl itself sat on top of twelve bronze bulls with three bulls facing outward in each of four directions. 26 The sides of the bowl were four inches thick, and its rim was like a cup that curved outward like flower petals. The bowl held about eleven thousand gallons.
27 Hiram made ten movable bronze stands, each one four and a half feet high, six feet long, and six feet wide. 28-29 The sides were made with panels attached to frames decorated with flower designs. The panels themselves were decorated with figures of lions, bulls, and winged creatures. 30-31 Each stand had four bronze wheels and axles and a round frame twenty-seven inches across, held up by four supports eighteen inches high. A small bowl rested in the frame. The supports were decorated with flower designs, and the frame with carvings.
The side panels of the stands were square, 32 and the wheels and axles were underneath them. The wheels were about twenty-seven inches high 33 and looked like chariot wheels. The axles, rims, spokes, and hubs were made out of bronze.
34-35 Around the top of each stand was a nine-inch strip, and there were four braces[r] attached to the corners of each stand. The panels and the supports were attached to the stands, 36 and the stands were decorated with flower designs and figures of lions, palm trees, and winged creatures. 37 Hiram made the ten bronze stands from the same mold, so they were exactly the same size and shape.
38 Hiram also made ten small bronze bowls, one for each stand. The bowls were six feet across and could hold about two hundred thirty gallons.
39 He put five stands on the south side of the temple, five stands on the north side, and the large bowl at the southeast corner of the temple.
40 Hiram made pans for hot ashes, and also shovels and sprinkling bowls.
A List of Everything inside the Temple
This is a list of the bronze items that Hiram made for the Lord’s temple: 41 two columns; two bowl-shaped caps for the tops of the columns; two chain designs on the caps; 42 four hundred pomegranates[s] for the chain designs; 43 ten movable stands; ten small bowls for the stands; 44 a large bowl; twelve bulls that held up the bowl; 45 pans for hot ashes, and also shovels and sprinkling bowls.
Hiram made these bronze things for Solomon 46 near the Jordan River between Succoth and Zarethan by pouring melted bronze into clay molds.
47 There were so many bronze things that Solomon never bothered to weigh them, and no one ever knew how much bronze was used.
48 Solomon gave orders to make the following temple furnishings out of gold: the altar; the table that held the sacred loaves of bread;[t] 49 ten lampstands that went in front of the most holy place; flower designs; lamps and tongs; 50 cups, lamp snuffers, and small sprinkling bowls; dishes for incense; fire pans; and the hinges for the doors to the most holy place and the main room of the temple.
51 After the Lord’s temple was finished, Solomon put into its storage rooms everything that his father David had dedicated to the Lord, including the gold and the silver.
Solomon Brings the Sacred Chest to the Temple
8 1-2 The sacred chest had been kept on Mount Zion, also known as the city of David. But Solomon decided to have the chest moved to the temple while everyone was in Jerusalem, celebrating the Festival of Shelters during Ethanim,[u] the seventh month of the year.
Solomon called together the important leaders of Israel. 3-4 Then the priests and the Levites carried to the temple the sacred chest, the sacred tent, and the objects used for worship. 5 Solomon and a crowd of people walked in front of the chest, and along the way they sacrificed more sheep and cattle than could be counted.
6 The priests carried the chest into the most holy place and put it under the winged creatures, 7 whose wings covered the chest and the poles used for carrying it. 8 The poles were so long that they could be seen from right outside the most holy place, but not from anywhere else. And they stayed there from then on.
9 The only things kept in the chest were the two flat stones Moses had put there when the Lord made his agreement with the people of Israel at Mount Sinai,[v] after bringing them out of Egypt.
10 Suddenly a cloud filled the temple as the priests were leaving the most holy place. 11 The Lord’s glory was in the cloud, and the light from it was so bright that the priests could not stay inside to do their work. 12 Then Solomon prayed:
“Our Lord, you said that you
would live in a dark cloud.
13 Now I have built a glorious temple
where you can live forever.”
Solomon Speaks to the People
14 Solomon turned toward the people standing there. Then he blessed them 15-16 and said:
Praise the Lord God of Israel! Long ago he brought his people out of Egypt. He later kept his promise to make my father David the king of Israel. The Lord also said that he had not chosen the city where his temple would be built.
17 So when David wanted to build a temple for the Lord God of Israel, 18 the Lord said, “It’s good that you want to build a temple where I can be worshiped. 19 But you’re not the one to do it. Your son will build a temple to honor me.”
20 The Lord has done what he promised. I am the king of Israel like my father, and I’ve built a temple for the Lord our God. 21 I’ve also made a place in the temple for the sacred chest. And in that chest are the two flat stones on which is written the solemn agreement the Lord made with our ancestors when he led them out of Egypt.
Solomon Prays at the Temple
22 Solomon stood facing the altar with everyone standing behind him. Then he lifted his arms toward heaven 23 and prayed:
Lord God of Israel, no other god in heaven or on earth is like you!
You never forget the agreement you made with your people, and you are loyal to anyone who faithfully obeys your teachings. 24 My father David was your servant, and today you have kept every promise you made to him.
25 Lord God of Israel, you promised my father that someone from his family would always be king of Israel, if they do their best to obey you, just as he did. 26 Please keep this promise you made to your servant David.
27 There’s not enough room in all of heaven for you, Lord God. How could you possibly live on earth in this temple I have built? 28 But I ask you to answer my prayer. 29 This is the temple where you have chosen to be worshiped. Please watch over it day and night and listen when I turn toward it and pray. 30 I am your servant, and the people of Israel belong to you. So whenever any of us look toward this temple and pray, answer from your home in heaven and forgive our sins.
31 Suppose someone accuses a person of a crime, and the accused has to stand in front of the altar in your temple and say, “I swear I am innocent!” 32 Listen from heaven and decide who is right. Then punish the guilty person and let the innocent one go free.
33 Suppose your people Israel sin against you, and then an enemy defeats them. If they come to this temple and beg for forgiveness, 34 listen from your home in heaven. Forgive them and bring them back to the land you gave their ancestors.
35 Suppose your people sin against you, and you punish them by holding back the rain. If they turn toward this temple and pray in your name and stop sinning, 36 listen from your home in heaven and forgive them. The people of Israel are your servants, so teach them to live right. And please send rain on the land you promised them forever.
37 Sometimes the crops may dry up or rot or be eaten by locusts[w] or grasshoppers, and your people will be starving. Sometimes enemies may surround their towns, or your people will become sick with deadly diseases. 38 Listen when anyone in Israel truly feels sorry and sincerely prays with arms lifted toward your temple. 39 You know what is in everyone’s heart. So from your home in heaven answer their prayers, according to the way they live and what is in their hearts. 40 Then your people will worship and obey you for as long as they live in the land you gave their ancestors.
41-42 Foreigners will hear about you and your mighty power, and some of them will come to live among your people Israel. If any of them pray toward this temple, 43 listen from your home in heaven and answer their prayers. Then everyone on earth will worship you, just like your people Israel, and they will know that I have built this temple to honor you.
44 Our Lord, sometimes you will order your people to attack their enemies. Then your people will turn toward this temple I have built for you in your chosen city, and they will pray to you. 45 Answer their prayers from heaven and give them victory.
46 Everyone sins. But when your people sin against you, suppose you get angry enough to let their enemies drag them away to foreign countries. 47-49 Later, they may feel sorry for what they did and ask your forgiveness. Answer them when they pray toward this temple I have built for you in your chosen city, here in this land you gave their ancestors. From your home in heaven, listen to their sincere prayers and do what they ask. 50 Forgive your people no matter how much they have sinned against you. Make the enemies who defeated them be kind to them. 51 Remember, they are the people you chose and rescued from Egypt that was like a blazing fire to them.
52 I am your servant, and the people of Israel belong to you. So listen when any of us pray and cry out for your help. 53 When you brought our ancestors out of Egypt, you told your servant Moses to say to them, “From all people on earth, the Lord God has chosen you to be his very own.”
Solomon Blesses the People
54 When Solomon finished his prayer at the altar, he was kneeling with his arms lifted toward heaven. He stood up, 55 turned toward the people, blessed them, and said loudly:
56 Praise the Lord! He has kept his promise and given us peace. Every good thing he promised to his servant Moses has happened.
57 The Lord our God was with our ancestors to help them, and I pray that he will be with us and never abandon us. 58 May the Lord help us obey him and follow all the laws and teachings he gave our ancestors.
59 I pray that the Lord our God will remember my prayer day and night. May he help everyone in Israel each day, in whatever way we need it. 60 Then every nation will know that the Lord is the only true God.
61 Obey the Lord our God and follow his commands with all your heart, just as you are doing today.
Solomon Dedicates the Temple
62-63 Solomon and the people dedicated the temple to the Lord by offering twenty-two thousand cattle and one hundred twenty thousand sheep as sacrifices to ask the Lord’s blessing.[x] 64 On that day, Solomon dedicated the courtyard in front of the temple and made it acceptable for worship. He offered the sacrifices there because the bronze altar in front of the temple was too small.
65 Solomon and the huge crowd celebrated the Festival of Shelters at the temple for seven days.[y] There were people from as far away as the Egyptian Gorge in the south and Lebo-Hamath in the north. 66 Then on the eighth day, he sent everyone home. They said good-by and left, very happy, because of all the good things the Lord had done for his servant David and his people Israel.
- 4.19 of Judah: One ancient translation; these words are not in the Hebrew text.
- 5.1 Tyre: The most important city in Phoenicia. It was located on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea north of Israel, in what is today southern Lebanon.
- 5.18 Gebal: Later known as Byblos.
- 6.1 Ziv: The second month of the Hebrew calendar, from about mid-April to mid-May.
- 6.15 from floor to ceiling: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
- 6.16 standing. . . ceiling: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
- 6.23 statues of winged creatures: These were symbols of the Lord’s throne on earth (see Exodus 25.18-22).
- 6.33,34 two sections: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
- 6.37 Ziv: See the note at 6.1.
- 6.38 Bul: The eighth month of the Hebrew calendar, from about mid-October to mid-November.
- 7.9 From. . . best stones: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
- 7.13,14 Hiram. . . city of Tyre: This is not the same person as “King Hiram of Tyre” (see 5.1).
- 7.17 seven rows. . . chains: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
- 7.18 pomegranates: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text of verse 18. A pomegranate is a bright red fruit that looks like an apple. In ancient times, it was a symbol of life.
- 7.19 lilies: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text of verse 19.
- 7.21 Jachin: Or “He makes secure.”
- 7.21 Boaz: Or “He is strong.”
- 7.34,35 braces: Or “handles.”
- 7.42 pomegranates: See the note at 7.18.
- 7.48 sacred loaves of bread: This bread was offered to the Lord and was a symbol of the Lord’s presence in the temple. It was put out on a special table, and was replaced with fresh bread each week (see Leviticus 24.5-9).
- 8.1,2 Ethanim: The seventh month of the Hebrew calendar, from about mid-September to mid-October.
- 8.9 Sinai: Hebrew “Horeb.”
- 8.37 locusts: A type of grasshopper that comes in swarms and causes great damage to plant life.
- 8.62,63 sacrifices to ask the Lord’s blessing: See Leviticus 3.1-17.
- 8.65 seven days: One ancient translation; Hebrew “seven days and seven more days, fourteen days in all.”