1 Kings 8
The construction of the temple is the most important accomplishment of Solomon’s reign. This building both establishes and symbolizes Israel’s connection to God. Once the covenant chest is placed there, it is literally the meeting point between them, and the sheer opulence of the temple reveals the priorities of the government. So much of Solomon’s wealth is put into this building instead of being used to build an empire, as his neighbors would do, because he trusts God with the fate of Israel. Nothing demonstrates that more clearly than the storage of the nation’s weapons in the temple. God is their guardian in every way.
8 To transport the Eternal’s covenant chest out of Zion, the city of David, Solomon assembled all the most important people of Israel before him in Jerusalem: the elders and all the heads of the Israelite tribes—the chiefs of the patriarchs’ families. 2 Every man in Israel gathered with King Solomon at the great feast during the 7th month (which is called Ethanim), 11 months after the temple was finished. 3 Israel’s elders all attended as well, and the priests transported the covenant chest. 4 The Levites who were priests transported the chest of the Eternal One, the congregation tent, and all the sacred objects that were inside the tent.
5 King Solomon stood before the covenant chest with the entire community of Israel who had gathered with him, and they sacrificed countless and innumerable sheep and oxen.
6 The Levitical priests transported the Eternal’s covenant chest to its rightful place in the inner sanctuary of the temple, which was the most holy place within the temple. They set the covenant chest down beneath the wings of the guardian creatures. 7 The creatures’ wings were spread above the chest, forming a sort of canopy over the chest and its carrying rods. 8 The carrying rods were long enough that they poked through the curtains and could be seen from the sacred place in front of the inner sanctuary, but a person could not see them from outside. The carrying rods are still there today.
9 The only things inside the covenant chest were the two stone tablets Moses placed there in Horeb, where the Eternal One entered into a covenant with the Israelites after they had departed from Egypt.
10 When the priests departed from the most holy place, a cloud filled the Eternal’s temple. 11 The cloud was so powerful that the priests could not remain standing to serve. His glory filled the temple.
12 Solomon: The Eternal dwells in this thick cloud.
He said so Himself.
13 Surely this means I have built a worthy dwelling place
for Him forever.
14-15 (then facing the standing assembly of Israelites) Praise be to the Eternal One, Israel’s God, who made promises with His mouth to my father, David; and who today has fulfilled His promises with His actions and said, 16 “When I led My people Israel out of Egypt, I did not look to the tribes of Israel and appoint a city to build a temple for My name. Instead, I appointed David to reign over My people Israel.”
17 My father desired to build a temple honoring the reputation of the Eternal One, Israel’s God; 18 but He told my father, David, “It was good enough that this desire was in your heart to build such a temple for My name. 19 However you will not be the one to build this place; but your son who is yet to be born will build your vision, this temple, for My name.”
20 The Eternal has kept this promise. I now sit upon my father David’s throne—the throne of Israel—just as He said, and I have constructed the temple honoring the reputation of the Eternal One, Israel’s God. 21 There I have made a sacred space for the covenant chest. Inside the chest is the covenant of the Eternal which He entered into with our ancestors after He led them out of Egypt.
22 Solomon was standing in front of the Eternal’s altar before the entire community of Israel, and he lifted his hands up toward heaven.
Solomon: 23 O Eternal One, Israel’s God, there is no other God who compares to You in heaven or on earth. You have guarded Your covenant and revealed Your loyal love to those who serve You with all their being. 24 You have kept Your word to Your servant, my father, David. You have promised with Your mouth and fulfilled Your promise with Your actions as it is today. 25 Eternal One, Israel’s God, preserve that which You have promised my father, David, when You told him, “Your descendants will sit upon Israel’s throne for as long as your sons walk the way you have walked before Me.”[a] 26 Israel’s God, fulfill what You have promised to my father, David, who served You.
27 Is it true that God will live upon the earth? The heavens and even the highest heaven are not big enough for You, so how will You live in the house I have raised? 28 Please listen to the prayer and humble request of Your servant today, Eternal One my God, 29 that Your gaze might fall upon this temple all night and day, that You might look upon the place about which You said, “My name will be there,” and hear the humble request of Your servant when he prays in the direction of this place. 30 And hear the prayer of Your servant and Your people Israel when they pray in the direction of this place. Hear them from heaven, Your dwelling place. Hear them, and forgive them.
31 If a man does evil against his neighbor, and he is instructed to make a promise at the altar of Your temple, 32 then hear him from heaven and act. Judge those who serve You. Denounce the evil man by returning his evil to him, and redeem the righteous man by blessing him according to his righteousness.
33 When Your people Israel are defeated by an enemy because they have acted against You and wronged You, if they come back to You and praise Your name and send their requests to You in this temple; 34 then hear them in heaven, forgive them for their sins, and lead them back to the promised land You gave to their ancestors.
35 When the heavens are dried up and no rain is given to the earth because Your people sinned against You, if they turn and pray in the direction of this place and praise Your name and turn away from their sins after You afflict them, 36 then hear them in heaven and forgive the sins of those who serve You and of Your people Israel. Show them the best path, the good path, upon which to walk. Give them rain for the portion of Your earth which You have given to them as an inheritance.
37 If there is food shortage, epidemic, plant disease, mildew, locusts or grasshoppers, enemies surrounding the land of their cities, plagues, or any other sickness; 38 whatever it is that is prayed or requested by any one person or all of Your people Israel who expresses the suffering of his own being and lifts his hands in the direction of this temple; 39 then hear him in heaven where You live. Grant forgiveness according to each person’s heart, for You know the heart of every man. You, and only You, know every heart 40 so that all people might live in awe and fear of You for as long as they live in the land You gave to their ancestors.
41 Whenever a foreigner, a person who is not a part of Your community of Israel, comes from a distant land in honor of Your name 42 (for everyone will hear about Your great reputation, mighty actions, and outstretched strength), when he prays in the direction of this temple; 43 then You will hear in heaven where You dwell and grant the foreigner’s requests. This is so Your reputation will spread all throughout the earth and so all may live in awe and fear of You, just as Your people Israel do, and so all will know that this temple I raised honors Your reputation.
44 When Your people enter the battlefield to face their enemies along the path You have sent them, when they pray to the Eternal in the direction of the city You have appointed and the temple I have raised in honor of Your reputation; 45 hear their prayers and requests in heaven, and You will do justice on their behalf.
46 When they sin against You (for there is not one person who will not sin), and in Your anger You hand them over to their enemies who take them away to enemy territory, whether it is near or far away, 47 if they repent from their wrongdoings during their captivity, confess to You that they have been sinful and acted wickedly, 48 give their hearts back to You, offer You their entire beings while being held captive by their enemies, and send their prayers to You in the direction of the land You gave to their ancestors (the city you appointed to be sacred) in the direction of the temple I have raised in honor of Your name; 49 then hear their prayers and requests in heaven where You live and do justice on their behalf, 50 forgive Your people who have wronged You, erase all their sins, and transform them into examples of compassion in the sight of their captors so that their enemies might be compassionate toward them.
51 These are Your people, the vessels of Your earthly legacy, whom You led out of Egypt and away from the iron furnace of slavery 52 so that Your eyes may be open to the requests of those who serve You—Your people Israel—and hear them whenever they call out to You. 53 You have set them apart from all other people on the earth; You have chosen them as vessels of Your earthly legacy. You revealed this to us when You chose Your servant Moses to be Your mouthpiece. It all began when You led our ancestors out of Egypt, Eternal, our True God.
54 After Solomon had finished praying to the Eternal, he stood up before the Eternal’s altar where he had been kneeling and lifting up his hands toward heaven. 55 With a booming voice, he blessed the entire community of Israel.
Solomon: 56 Blessed is the Eternal One who has given rest to His people Israel and who has fulfilled all His promises. He has been true to every last word of the promise He gave through His servant Moses. 57 May the Eternal our God live among us, just as He lived with our ancestors. May He never abandon or neglect us 58 so that He can make us desire and walk in His ways, keeping all the commands, laws, and judgments He gave to our ancestors. 59 May my words and everything I have requested of the Eternal our God be close to His heart continuously, both day and night, so that He will support His servant and His people Israel according to the needs of each day as it is today. 60 Then all the people of the world will understand for themselves that He is the only True God. 61 Give your entire heart to the Eternal our God. Walk the path He has intended for us, and keep His laws as you do today.
62 King Solomon and the entire community of Israel sacrificed to the Eternal. 63 For the peace offerings, Solomon sacrificed 22,000 oxen and 120,000 sheep. Solomon and the Israelites made these sacrifices for the dedication of the Eternal’s temple.
64 That day King Solomon blessed the center of the court that was in front of the Eternal’s temple by giving a burnt offering, grain offering, and all the fat of the peace offering. But the bronze altar that was set before the Eternal was not big enough to support the burnt offering, grain offering, and the fat of the peace offering. 65 So Solomon and the entire community of Israel feasted together. It was a large gathering that stretched from the entrance of Hamath (the Aramean city in the north) all the way to the stream of Egypt—the boundaries of Solomon’s kingdom. This all took place before the Eternal our God, and it lasted for seven days and then another seven days—fourteen days in all.
66 On the next day (the eighth day), Solomon told everyone it was time to leave. They praised their king and joyfully made their way back to their tents, their hearts overflowing with gladness for all the good the Eternal had revealed to His servant David and to His people Israel.