1 Kings 8
New English Translation
Solomon Moves the Ark into the Temple
8 [a] Then Solomon convened in Jerusalem Israel’s elders, all the leaders of the Israelite tribes and families, so they could witness the transferal of the ark of the Lord’s covenant from the City of David (that is, Zion).[b] 2 All the men of Israel assembled before King Solomon during the festival[c] in the month of Ethanim[d] (the seventh month). 3 When all Israel’s elders had arrived, the priests lifted the ark. 4 The priests and Levites carried the ark of the Lord, the tent of meeting,[e] and all the holy items in the tent.[f] 5 Now King Solomon and all the Israelites who had assembled with him went on ahead of the ark and sacrificed more sheep and cattle than could be counted or numbered.[g]
6 The priests brought the ark of the Lord’s covenant to its assigned[h] place in the inner sanctuary of the temple, in the Most Holy Place, under the wings of the cherubim. 7 The cherubim’s wings extended over the place where the ark sat; the cherubim overshadowed the ark and its poles.[i] 8 The poles were so long their ends were visible from the Holy Place in front of the inner sanctuary, but they could not be seen from beyond that point.[j] They have remained there to this very day. 9 There was nothing in the ark except the two stone tablets Moses had placed there in Horeb.[k] It was there that[l] the Lord made a covenant with the Israelites after he brought them out of the land of Egypt. 10 Once the priests left the Holy Place, a cloud filled the Lord’s temple. 11 The priests could not carry out their duties[m] because of the cloud; the Lord’s glory filled his temple.[n]
12 Then Solomon said, “The Lord has said that he lives in thick darkness. 13 O Lord,[o] truly I have built a lofty temple for you, a place where you can live permanently.” 14 Then the king turned around[p] and pronounced a blessing over the whole Israelite assembly as they stood there.[q] 15 He said, “The Lord God of Israel is worthy of praise because he has fulfilled[r] what he promised[s] my father David. 16 He told David,[t] ‘Since the day I brought my people Israel out of Egypt, I have not chosen a city from all the tribes of Israel to build a temple in which to live.[u] But I have chosen David to lead my people Israel.’ 17 Now my father David had a strong desire[v] to build a temple to honor the Lord God of Israel.[w] 18 The Lord told my father David, ‘It is right for you to have a strong desire to build a temple to honor me.[x] 19 But you will not build the temple; your very own son will build the temple for my honor.’[y] 20 The Lord has kept the promise he made.[z] I have taken my father David’s place and have occupied the throne of Israel, as the Lord promised. I have built this temple for the honor[aa] of the Lord God of Israel 21 and set up in it a place for the ark containing the covenant the Lord made with our ancestors[ab] when he brought them out of the land of Egypt.”
Solomon Prays for Israel
22 Solomon stood before the altar of the Lord in front of the entire assembly of Israel and spread out his hands toward the sky.[ac] 23 He prayed:[ad] “O Lord, God of Israel, there is no god like you in heaven above or on earth below! You maintain covenantal loyalty[ae] to your servants who obey you with sincerity.[af] 24 You have kept your word to your servant, my father David;[ag] this very day you have fulfilled what you promised.[ah] 25 Now, O Lord, God of Israel, keep the promise you made to your servant, my father David, when you said, ‘You will never fail to have a successor ruling before me on the throne of Israel,[ai] provided that your descendants watch their step[aj] and serve me as you have done.’[ak] 26 Now, O God of Israel, may the promise you made[al] to your servant, my father David, be realized.[am]
27 “God does not really live on the earth![an] Look, if the sky and the highest heaven cannot contain you, how much less this temple I have built! 28 But respond favorably to[ao] your servant’s prayer and his request for help, O Lord my God. Answer[ap] the desperate prayer[aq] your servant is presenting to you[ar] today. 29 Night and day may you watch over this temple, the place where you promised you would live.[as] May you answer your servant’s prayer for this place.[at] 30 Respond to the request of your servant and your people Israel for this place.[au] Hear from inside your heavenly dwelling place[av] and respond favorably.[aw]
31 “When someone is accused of sinning against his neighbor and the latter pronounces a curse on the alleged offender before your altar in this temple, be willing to forgive the accused if the accusation is false.[ax] 32 Listen from heaven and make a just decision about your servants’ claims. Condemn the guilty party, declare the other innocent, and give both of them what they deserve.[ay]
33 “The time will come when[az] your people Israel are defeated by an enemy[ba] because they sinned against you. If they come back to you, renew their allegiance to you,[bb] and pray for your help[bc] in this temple, 34 then listen from heaven, forgive the sin of your people Israel, and bring them back to the land you gave to their ancestors.
35 “The time will come when[bd] the skies are shut up tightly and no rain falls because your people[be] sinned against you. When they direct their prayers toward this place, renew their allegiance to you,[bf] and turn away from their sin because you punish[bg] them, 36 then listen from heaven and forgive the sin of your servants, your people Israel. Certainly[bh] you will then teach them the right way to live[bi] and send rain on your land that you have given your people to possess.[bj]
37 “The time will come when the land suffers from a famine, a plague, blight and disease, or a locust[bk] invasion, or when their enemy lays siege to the cities of the land,[bl] or when some other type of plague or epidemic occurs. 38 When all your people Israel pray and ask for help,[bm] as they acknowledge their pain[bn] and spread out their hands toward this temple, 39 then listen from your heavenly dwelling place, forgive their sin,[bo] and act favorably toward each one based on your evaluation of his motives.[bp] (Indeed you are the only one who can correctly evaluate the motives of all people.)[bq] 40 Then they will obey[br] you throughout their lifetimes as[bs] they live on the land you gave to our ancestors.
41 “Foreigners, who do not belong to your people Israel, will come from a distant land because of your reputation.[bt] 42 When they hear about your great reputation[bu] and your ability to accomplish mighty deeds,[bv] they will come and direct their prayers toward this temple. 43 Then listen from your heavenly dwelling place and answer all the prayers of the foreigners.[bw] Then all the nations of the earth will acknowledge your reputation,[bx] obey[by] you as your people Israel do, and recognize that this temple I built belongs to you.[bz]
44 “When you direct your people to march out and fight their enemies,[ca] and they direct their prayers to the Lord[cb] toward his chosen city and this temple I built for your honor,[cc] 45 then listen from heaven to their prayers for help[cd] and vindicate them.[ce]
46 “The time will come when your people[cf] will sin against you (for there is no one who is sinless!) and you will be angry with them and deliver them over to their enemies, who will take them as prisoners to their own land,[cg] whether far away or close by. 47 When your people[ch] come to their senses[ci] in the land where they are held prisoner, they will repent and beg for your mercy in the land of their imprisonment, admitting, ‘We have sinned and gone astray;[cj] we have done evil.’ 48 When they return to you with all their heart and being[ck] in the land[cl] where they are held prisoner, and direct their prayers to you toward the land you gave to their ancestors, your chosen city, and the temple I built for your honor,[cm] 49 then listen from your heavenly dwelling place to their prayers for help[cn] and vindicate them.[co] 50 Forgive all the rebellious acts of your sinful people and cause their captors to have mercy on them.[cp] 51 After all,[cq] they are your people and your special possession[cr] whom you brought out of Egypt, from the middle of the iron-smelting furnace.[cs]
52 “May you be attentive[ct] to your servant’s and your people Israel’s requests for help and may you respond to all their prayers to you.[cu] 53 After all,[cv] you picked them out of all the nations of the earth to be your special possession,[cw] just as you, O Sovereign Lord, announced through your servant Moses when you brought our ancestors out of Egypt.”
54 When Solomon finished presenting all these prayers and requests to the Lord, he got up from before the altar of the Lord where he had kneeled and spread out his hands toward the sky.[cx] 55 When he stood up, he pronounced a blessing over the entire assembly of Israel, saying in a loud voice: 56 “The Lord is worthy of praise because he has made Israel his people secure[cy] just as he promised! Not one of all the faithful promises he made through his servant Moses is left unfulfilled![cz] 57 May the Lord our God be with us, as he was with our ancestors. May he not abandon us or leave us. 58 May he make us submissive,[da] so we can follow all his instructions[db] and obey[dc] the commandments, rules, and regulations he commanded our ancestors. 59 May the Lord our God be constantly aware of these requests of mine I have presented to him,[dd] so that he might vindicate[de] his servant and his people Israel as the need arises. 60 Then[df] all the nations of the earth will recognize that the Lord is the only genuine God.[dg] 61 May you demonstrate wholehearted devotion to the Lord our God[dh] by following[di] his rules and obeying[dj] his commandments, as you are now doing.”[dk]
Solomon Dedicates the Temple
62 The king and all Israel with him were presenting sacrifices to the Lord. 63 Solomon offered as peace offerings[dl] to the Lord 22,000 cattle and 120,000 sheep. Then the king and all the Israelites dedicated the Lord’s temple. 64 That day the king consecrated the middle of the courtyard that is in front of the Lord’s temple. He offered there burnt sacrifices, grain offerings, and the fat from the peace offerings, because the bronze altar that stood before the Lord was too small to hold all these offerings.[dm] 65 At that time Solomon and all Israel with him celebrated a festival before the Lord our God for two entire weeks. This great assembly included people from all over the land, from Lebo Hamath in the north to the Stream of Egypt[dn] in the south.[do] 66 On the fifteenth day after the festival started,[dp] he dismissed the people. They asked God to empower the king[dq] and then went to their homes, happy and content[dr] because of all the good the Lord had done for his servant David and his people Israel.
- 1 Kings 8:1 tc The Old Greek translation includes the following words at the beginning of ch. 8: “It so happened that when Solomon finished building the Lord’s temple and his own house, after twenty years.”
- 1 Kings 8:1 tn Heb “Then Solomon convened the elders of Israel, the heads of the tribes, the chiefs of the fathers belonging to the sons of Israel to King Solomon [in] Jerusalem to bring up the ark of the covenant of the Lord from the City of David (it is Zion).”
- 1 Kings 8:2 sn The festival. This was the Feast of Tabernacles, see Lev 23:34.
- 1 Kings 8:2 sn The month Ethanim. This would be September-October in modern reckoning.
- 1 Kings 8:4 tn Heb “the tent of assembly.”sn The tent of meeting. See Exod 33:7-11.
- 1 Kings 8:4 tn Heb “and they carried the ark of the Lord…. The priests and the Levites carried them.”
- 1 Kings 8:5 tn Heb “And King Solomon and all the assembly of Israel, those who had been gathered to him, [were] before the ark, sacrificing sheep and cattle which could not be counted or numbered because of the abundance.”
- 1 Kings 8:6 tn The word “assigned” is supplied in the translation for clarification.
- 1 Kings 8:7 sn And its poles. These poles were used to carry the ark. See Exod 25:13-15.
- 1 Kings 8:8 tn Heb “they could not be seen outside.”
- 1 Kings 8:9 sn Horeb is another name for Mount Sinai.
- 1 Kings 8:9 tn Heb “in Horeb where.”
- 1 Kings 8:11 tn Heb “were not able to stand to serve.”
- 1 Kings 8:11 tn Heb “the house of the Lord.”
- 1 Kings 8:13 tn The words “O Lord” do not appear in the original text, but they are supplied for clarification; Solomon addresses the Lord in prayer at this point.
- 1 Kings 8:14 tn Heb “turned his face.”
- 1 Kings 8:14 tn Heb “and he blessed all the assembly of Israel, and all the assembly of Israel was standing.”
- 1 Kings 8:15 tn The Hebrew text reads, “by his hand he has fulfilled.”
- 1 Kings 8:15 tn The Hebrew text reads, “he promised by his mouth.”
- 1 Kings 8:16 tn Heb “saying.” The word is carried over from the end of verse 15.
- 1 Kings 8:16 tn Heb “to build a house for my name to be there.”sn To build a temple in which to live (Heb “to build a house for my name to be there”). In the OT, the word “name” sometimes refers to one’s reputation or honor. The “name” of the Lord sometimes designates the Lord himself, being indistinguishable from the proper name.
- 1 Kings 8:17 tn Heb “and it was with the heart of David my father.”
- 1 Kings 8:17 tn Heb “to build a house for the name of the Lord God of Israel.” The word “name” in the OT sometimes refers to one’s reputation or honor. The “name” of the Lord sometimes designates the Lord himself, being indistinguishable from the proper name.
- 1 Kings 8:18 tn Heb “Because it was with your heart to build a house for my name, you did well that it was with your heart.”
- 1 Kings 8:19 tn Heb “your son, the one who came out of your body, he will build the temple for my name.”
- 1 Kings 8:20 tn Heb “his word that he spoke.”
- 1 Kings 8:20 tn Heb “name.”
- 1 Kings 8:21 tn Heb “fathers” (also in vv. 34, 40, 48, 53, 57, 58).
- 1 Kings 8:22 tn Or “heaven.”
- 1 Kings 8:23 tn Heb “said.”
- 1 Kings 8:23 tn Heb “one who keeps the covenant and the loyal love.” The expression is a hendiadys.
- 1 Kings 8:23 tn Heb “who walk before you with all their heart.”
- 1 Kings 8:24 tn Heb “[you] who kept to your servant David my father that which you spoke to him.”
- 1 Kings 8:24 tn Heb “you spoke by your mouth and by your hand you fulfilled, as this day.”
- 1 Kings 8:25 tn Heb “there will not be cut off from you a man from before me sitting on the throne of Israel.”
- 1 Kings 8:25 tn Heb “watch their way.” The Hebrew and English colloquialisms are similar. The related ideas “way” and “steps” represent behavior in a broad sense in each language.
- 1 Kings 8:25 tn Heb “guard their way by walking before me as you have walked before me.”
- 1 Kings 8:26 tn Heb “the words that you spoke.”
- 1 Kings 8:26 tn Or “prove to be reliable.”
- 1 Kings 8:27 tn Heb “Indeed, can God really live on the earth?” The rhetorical question expects the answer, “Of course not,” the force of which the translation above seeks to reflect.
- 1 Kings 8:28 tn Heb “turn to.”
- 1 Kings 8:28 tn Heb “by listening to.”
- 1 Kings 8:28 tn Heb “the loud cry and the prayer.”
- 1 Kings 8:28 tn Heb “praying before you.”
- 1 Kings 8:29 tn Heb “so your eyes might be open toward this house night and day, toward the place about which you said, ‘My name will be there.’”
- 1 Kings 8:29 tn Heb “by listening to the prayer which your servant is praying concerning this place.”
- 1 Kings 8:30 tn Heb “listen to the request of your servant and your people Israel which they are praying concerning this place.”
- 1 Kings 8:30 tn Heb “and you, hear inside your dwelling place, inside heaven.” The precise nuance of the preposition אֶל (ʾel), used here with the verb “hear,” is unclear. One expects the preposition “from,” which appears in the parallel text in 2 Chr 6:21. The nuance “inside; among” is attested for אֶל (see Gen 23:19; 1 Sam 10:22; Jer 4:3), but in each case a verb of motion is employed with the preposition, unlike 1 Kgs 8:30. The translation above (“from inside”) is based on the demands of the immediate context rather than attested usage elsewhere.
- 1 Kings 8:30 tn Heb “hear and forgive.”
- 1 Kings 8:31 tn Heb “and forgive the man who sins against his neighbor when one takes up against him a curse to curse him and the curse comes before your altar in this house.” In the Hebrew text the words “and forgive” conclude v. 30, but the accusative sign at the beginning of v. 31 suggests the verb actually goes with what follows in v. 31. The parallel text in 2 Chr 6:22 begins with “and if,” rather than the accusative sign. In this case “forgive” must be taken with what precedes, and v. 31 must be taken as the protasis (“if” clause) of a conditional sentence, with v. 32 being the apodosis (“then” clause) that completes the sentence.sn Be willing to forgive the accused if the accusation is false. At first it appears that Solomon is asking God to forgive the guilty party. But in v. 32 Solomon asks the Lord to discern who is guilty and innocent, so v. 31 must refer to a situation where an accusation has been made, but not yet proven. The very periphrastic translation reflects this interpretation.
- 1 Kings 8:32 tn Heb “and you, hear [from] heaven and act and judge your servants by declaring the guilty to be guilty, to give his way on his head, and to declare the innocent to be innocent, to give to him according to his innocence.”
- 1 Kings 8:33 tn Heb “when.” In the Hebrew text vv. 33-34 actually contain one lengthy conditional sentence, which the translation has divided into two sentences for stylistic reasons.
- 1 Kings 8:33 tn Or “are struck down before an enemy.”
- 1 Kings 8:33 tn Heb “confess [or perhaps, “praise”] your name.”
- 1 Kings 8:33 tn Heb “and they pray and ask for help.”
- 1 Kings 8:35 tn Heb “when.” In the Hebrew text vv. 35-36a actually contain one lengthy conditional sentence, which the translation has divided into two sentences for stylistic reasons.
- 1 Kings 8:35 tn Heb “they”; the referent (your people) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
- 1 Kings 8:35 tn Heb “confess [or perhaps, “praise”] your name.”
- 1 Kings 8:35 tn The Hebrew text has “because you answer them,” as if the verb is from עָנָה (ʿanah, “to answer”). However, this reference to a divine answer is premature, since the next verse asks for God to intervene in mercy. It is better to revocalize the consonantal text as תְעַנֵּם (teʿannem, “you afflict them”), a Piel verb form from the homonym עָנָה (ʿanah, “to afflict”).
- 1 Kings 8:36 tn The translation understands כִּי (ki) in an emphatic or asseverative sense.
- 1 Kings 8:36 tn Heb “the good way in which they should walk.”
- 1 Kings 8:36 tn Or “for an inheritance.”
- 1 Kings 8:37 tn Actually two Hebrew terms appear here, both of which are usually taken as referring to locusts. Perhaps different stages of growth or different varieties are in view.
- 1 Kings 8:37 tn Heb “in the land, his gates.”
- 1 Kings 8:38 tn Heb “every prayer, every request for help which will be to all the people, to all your people Israel.”
- 1 Kings 8:38 tn Heb “which they know, each the pain of his heart.”
- 1 Kings 8:39 tn The words “their sin” are added for clarification.
- 1 Kings 8:39 tn Heb “and act and give to each one according to all his ways because you know his heart.” In the Hebrew text vv. 37-39a actually contain one lengthy conditional sentence, which the translation has divided up for stylistic reasons.
- 1 Kings 8:39 tn Heb “Indeed you know, you alone, the heart of all the sons of mankind.”
- 1 Kings 8:40 tn Heb “fear.”
- 1 Kings 8:40 tn Heb “all the days [in] which.”
- 1 Kings 8:41 tn Heb “your name.” In the OT the word “name” sometimes refers to one’s reputation or honor. The “name” of the Lord sometimes designates the Lord himself, being indistinguishable from the proper name.
- 1 Kings 8:42 tn Heb “your great name.” See the note on the word “reputation” in the previous verse.
- 1 Kings 8:42 tn Heb “and your strong hand and your outstretched arm.”
- 1 Kings 8:43 tn Heb “and do all which the foreigner calls to [i.e., “requests of”] you.”
- 1 Kings 8:43 tn Heb “your name.” See the note on the word “reputation” in v. 41.
- 1 Kings 8:43 tn Heb “fear.”
- 1 Kings 8:43 tn Heb “that your name is called over this house which I built.” The Hebrew idiom “to call the name over” indicates ownership. See 2 Sam 12:28.
- 1 Kings 8:44 tn Heb “When your people go out for battle against their enemies in the way which you send them.”
- 1 Kings 8:44 tn Or perhaps “to you, O Lord.” See 2 Chr 6:34.
- 1 Kings 8:44 tn Heb “your name.” See the note on the word “reputation” in v. 41.
- 1 Kings 8:45 tn Heb “their prayer and their request for help.”
- 1 Kings 8:45 tn Heb “and accomplish their justice.”
- 1 Kings 8:46 tn Heb “they”; the referent (your people) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
- 1 Kings 8:46 tn Heb “the land of the enemy.”
- 1 Kings 8:47 tn Heb “they”; the referent (your people) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
- 1 Kings 8:47 tn Or “stop and reflect”; Heb “bring back to their heart.”
- 1 Kings 8:47 tn Or “done wrong.”
- 1 Kings 8:48 tn Or “soul.”
- 1 Kings 8:48 tn Heb “in the land of their enemies.”
- 1 Kings 8:48 tn Heb “your name.” See the note on the word “reputation” in v. 41.
- 1 Kings 8:49 tn Heb “their prayer and their request for help.”
- 1 Kings 8:49 tn Heb “and accomplish their justice.”
- 1 Kings 8:50 tn Heb “and forgive your people who have sinned against you, and all their rebellious acts by which they rebelled against you, and grant them mercy before their captors so they will show them mercy.”
- 1 Kings 8:51 tn Or “for.”
- 1 Kings 8:51 tn Heb “inheritance.”
- 1 Kings 8:51 tn The Hebrew term כּוּר (kur, “furnace,” cf. Akkadian kūru) is a metaphor for the intense heat of purification. A כּוּר was not a source of heat but a crucible (“iron-smelting furnace”) in which precious metals were melted down and their impurities burned away (see I. Cornelius, NIDOTTE 2:618-19). Thus Egypt served not as a place of punishment for the Israelites, but as a place of refinement to bring Israel to a place of submission to divine sovereignty.sn From the middle of the iron-smelting furnace. The metaphor of a furnace suggests fire and heat and is an apt image to remind the people of the suffering they endured while slaves in Egypt.
- 1 Kings 8:52 tn Heb “May your eyes be open.”
- 1 Kings 8:52 tn Heb “to listen to them in all their calling out to you.”
- 1 Kings 8:53 tn Or “For.”
- 1 Kings 8:53 tn Heb “your inheritance.”
- 1 Kings 8:54 tn Or “toward heaven.”
- 1 Kings 8:56 tn Heb “he has given a resting place to his people Israel.”
- 1 Kings 8:56 tn Heb “not one word from his entire good word he spoke by Moses his servant has fallen.”
- 1 Kings 8:58 tn Heb “to bend our hearts toward him.” The infinitive is subordinate to the initial prayer, “may the Lord our God be with us.” The Hebrew term לֵבָב (levav, “heart”) here refers to the people’s volition and will.
- 1 Kings 8:58 tn Heb “to walk in all his ways.”
- 1 Kings 8:58 tn Heb “keep.”
- 1 Kings 8:59 tn Heb “May these words of mine, which I have requested before the Lord, be near the Lord our God day and night.”
- 1 Kings 8:59 tn Heb “accomplish the justice of.”
- 1 Kings 8:60 tn Heb “so that.”
- 1 Kings 8:60 tn Heb “the Lord, he is the God, there is no other.”
- 1 Kings 8:61 tn Heb “may your hearts be complete with the Lord our God.”
- 1 Kings 8:61 tn Heb “walking in.”
- 1 Kings 8:61 tn Heb “keeping.”
- 1 Kings 8:61 tn Heb “as this day.”
- 1 Kings 8:63 tn Heb “peace offerings that he sacrificed.” “Peace offerings” could be “tokens of peace”; NIV, TEV “fellowship offerings.”
- 1 Kings 8:64 tn Heb “to hold the burnt sacrifices, grain offerings, and the fat of the peace offerings.”
- 1 Kings 8:65 tn Or “the Wadi of Egypt” (NAB, NIV, NRSV); CEV “the Egyptian Gorge.”
- 1 Kings 8:65 tn Heb “Solomon held at that time the festival, and all Israel was with him, a great assembly from Lebo Hamath to the Stream of Egypt, before the Lord our God for seven days and seven days, fourteen days.”
- 1 Kings 8:66 tn Heb “on the eighth day” (that is, the day after the second seven-day sequence).
- 1 Kings 8:66 tn Heb “they blessed the king.”
- 1 Kings 8:66 tn Heb “good of heart.”