1 Kings 8-9 Easy-to-Read Version (ERV)
The Box of the Agreement in the Temple
8 Then King Solomon told all the elders of Israel, the heads of the tribes, and the leaders of the families of Israel to come together in Jerusalem. Solomon wanted them to join in moving the Box of the Lord’s Agreement from the City of David up to the Temple. 2 So during the special festival[a] in the month of Ethanim, the seventh month of the year, all the men of Israel came to the meeting with King Solomon.
3-4 When all the elders of Israel arrived, the priests and Levites carried the Holy Box of the Lord up to the Temple. They also carried the Meeting Tent and all the holy things that were in it up to the Temple. 5 King Solomon and all Israel met together before the Box of the Agreement and sacrificed so many sheep and cattle that no one was able to count them all. 6 The priests carried the Box of the Lord’s Agreement to its proper place inside the Most Holy Place in the Temple, under the wings of the Cherub angels. 7 The wings of the Cherub angels spread out over the Holy Box, and they covered the Holy Box and its carrying poles. 8 The poles are still there today. They are too long for the Most Holy Place, so anyone standing in the Holy Place can see the ends of the poles, although no one outside can see them. 9 The only things inside the Holy Box are the two tablets that Moses put there at Mt. Horeb. This is where the Lord made his agreement with the Israelites after they came out of Egypt.
10 When the priests came out of the Holy Place, the cloud[b] filled the Lord’s Temple. 11 The priests could not continue their work because the Temple was filled with the Glory of the Lord. 12 Then Solomon said,
“The Lord caused the sun to shine in the sky,
14 Then King Solomon turned toward all the Israelites who were standing there and asked God to bless them. 15 He prayed this long prayer to the Lord:
“The Lord, the God of Israel, is great. He has done what he promised my father David. He told my father, 16 ‘I brought my people, Israel, out of Egypt, but I had not yet chosen a city from among the tribes of Israel for a temple to honor me. And I had not chosen a man to be leader over my people, Israel. But now I have chosen Jerusalem to be the city where I will be honored.[d] And I have chosen David to rule over my people, Israel.’
17 “My father David wanted very much to build a temple to honor the Lord, the God of Israel. 18 But the Lord said to my father, ‘I know that you want very much to build a temple to honor me, and it is good that you want to build it. 19 But you are not the one to build my temple. Your son will build my temple.’
20 “So the Lord has kept his promises. I am the king now in place of my father David. I rule the people of Israel as the Lord promised. And I have built the Temple for the Lord, the God of Israel. 21 I have made a place in the Temple for the Holy Box. Inside that Holy Box is the agreement that the Lord made with our ancestors when he brought them out of Egypt.”
22 Then Solomon stood in front of whole assembly of Israel and faced the Lord’s altar. Solomon spread his hands and looked toward heaven 23 and said,
“Lord, God of Israel, there is no other god like you in heaven or on the earth. You keep the agreement that you made with your people. You are kind and loyal to those who follow you with all their heart. 24 You made a promise to your servant, my father David, and you kept that promise. You made that promise with your own mouth, and with your own hands you made it come true today. 25 Now, Lord, God of Israel, keep the other promises you made to your servant David, my father. You said, ‘David, if your sons carefully obey me as you did, you will always have someone from your family ruling the people of Israel.’ 26 Again, God of Israel, I ask you to keep the promise you made to your servant, my father David.
27 “But, God, will you really live here with us on the earth? The whole sky and the highest heaven cannot contain you. Certainly this Temple that I built cannot contain you either. 28 But please listen to my prayer and my request. I am your servant, and you are the Lord my God. Hear this prayer that I am praying to you today. 29 In the past you said, ‘I will be honored there.’ So please watch over this Temple, night and day. And please listen to my prayer as I turn toward this Temple and pray to you. 30 And please listen to our prayers in the future when I and your people Israel turn to this place and pray to you. We know that you live in heaven. We ask you to hear our prayer there and forgive us.
31 “Those who wrong others will be brought to this altar. If they are not guilty, they will make an oath and promise that they are innocent. 32 Please listen from heaven and judge them. If they are guilty, please show us that they are guilty. And if they are innocent, please show us that they are not guilty.
33 “Sometimes your people Israel will sin against you, and their enemies will defeat them. Then the people will come back to you and praise you. They will pray to you in this Temple. 34 Please listen in heaven, please listen to the prayers of your people Israel. Forgive them for their sins and let them have their land again. You gave this land to their ancestors.
35 “Sometimes they will sin against you, and you will stop the rain from falling on their land. Then they will pray toward this place and praise your name. You make them suffer, and they will be sorry for their sins. 36 So please listen in heaven to their prayer. Then forgive us for our sins. Teach the people to live right. Then, Lord, please send rain to the land you gave them.
37 “The land might become very dry and no food will grow on it. Or maybe a great sickness will spread among the people. Maybe all the food that is growing will be destroyed by insects. Or your people might be attacked in some of their cities by their enemies. Or many of your people might get sick. 38 When any of these things happen, and people feel compelled in their hearts to spread their hands in prayer toward this Temple, 39 please listen to their prayer. Listen while you are in your home in heaven and forgive them and help them. Only you know what people are really thinking, so only you can judge them fairly. 40 Do this so that your people will fear and respect you all the time that they live in this land that you gave to our ancestors.
41-42 “People from other places will hear about your greatness and your power. They will come from far away to pray at this Temple. 43 From your home in heaven, please listen to their prayers. Please do everything the people from other places ask you. Then they will fear and respect you the same as your people in Israel. Then all people everywhere will know that I built this Temple to honor you.
44 “Sometimes you will command your people to go and fight against their enemies. Then your people will turn toward the city that you have chosen and the Temple that I built in your honor, and they will pray to you, Lord. 45 Please listen to their prayers from your home in heaven, and help them.
46 “Your people will sin against you. I know this because everyone sins. And you will be angry with your people. You will let their enemies defeat them. Their enemies will make them prisoners and carry them to some faraway land. 47 In that faraway land, your people will think about what happened. They will be sorry for their sins, and they will pray to you. They will say, ‘We have sinned and done wrong.’ 48 They will be in that faraway land of their enemies, but they will turn back to you. They will feel sorry for their sins with their whole heart and soul. They will turn toward the land you gave their ancestors. They will look toward the city you chose and toward the Temple I built, and they will pray to you. 49 Please listen to their prayers from your home in heaven, and do what is right. 50 Forgive your sinful people for all the things they have done against you. Make their enemies be kind to them. 51 Remember that they are your people and that you brought them out of Egypt. It was as if you saved them by pulling them out of a hot oven!
52 “Please listen to my prayers and to the prayers of your people Israel. Listen to their prayers any time that they ask you for help. 53 You have chosen them from all the peoples of the earth to be your own special people. Lord God, you promised to do that for us. You used your servant Moses to make that promise when you brought our ancestors out of Egypt.”
54 When Solomon prayed this prayer to the Lord, he was on his knees in front of the Lord’s altar and his arms were raised toward heaven. When he finished praying, he stood up. 55 Then, in a loud voice, he asked God to bless all the people of Israel. Solomon said,
56 “Praise the Lord! He promised to give rest to his people, Israel. And he has given us rest! He used his servant Moses and made many good promises to the people of Israel. And he has kept every one of them! 57 I pray that the Lord our God will be with us, as he was with our ancestors. I pray that he will never leave us. 58 I pray that we will turn to him and follow him. Then we will obey all the laws, decisions, and commands that he gave our ancestors. 59 I pray that the Lord our God will always remember this prayer and what I have asked. I pray that he will do these things for his servant, the king, and for his people, Israel. I pray that he will do this every day. 60 If he will do these things, all the people of the world will know that the Lord is the only true God. 61 You people must be loyal and true to the Lord our God. You must always follow and obey all of his laws and commands. You must continue to obey in the future as you do now.”
62 Then King Solomon and all the Israelites with him offered sacrifices to the Lord. 63 Solomon killed 22,000 cattle and 120,000 sheep as fellowship offerings to the Lord. In this way the king and the people showed that they had dedicated the Temple to the Lord.
64 King Solomon also dedicated the yard right in front of the Lord’s Temple. He offered burnt offerings, grain offerings, and the fat from the animals that were used as fellowship offerings. King Solomon made these offerings there in the yard. He did this because the bronze altar in front of the Lord was too small to hold them all.
65 So there at the Temple, King Solomon and all the people of Israel celebrated the festival.[e] People came from as far away as Hamath Pass in the north and the border of Egypt in the south. This huge crowd of people ate, drank, and enjoyed themselves together with the Lord for seven days. Then they stayed for another seven days. They celebrated for a total of 14 days.[f] 66 The next day Solomon told the people to go home. All the people thanked the king, said goodbye, and went home. They were happy because of all the good things that the Lord had done for David his servant and for his people Israel.
God Comes to Solomon Again
9 So Solomon finished building the Lord’s Temple and his own palace. Solomon built everything that he wanted to build. 2 Then the Lord appeared to Solomon again, just as he did at Gibeon. 3 The Lord said to him,
“I heard your prayer and what you asked me to do. You built this Temple, and I have made it a holy place. So I will be honored there forever. I will watch over it and think of it always. 4 You must serve me with a pure and honest heart, just as your father David did. You must obey my laws and do everything that I commanded you. 5 If you do, I will make sure that your family will always rule Israel, just as I promised your father David when I told him that Israel would always be ruled by one of his descendants.
6-7 “But if you or your children stop following me, and don’t obey the laws and commands that I have given you, and if you serve and worship other gods, I will force Israel to leave the land that I have given to them. Israel will be an example to other people. Other people will make jokes about Israel. I made the Temple holy. It is the place where people honor me. But I will tear it down. 8 This Temple will be destroyed. Everyone who sees it will be amazed. They will ask, ‘Why did the Lord do this terrible thing to this land and to this temple?’ 9 People will say, ‘This happened because they left the Lord their God. He brought their ancestors out of Egypt, but they decided to follow other gods. They worshiped and served those gods. That is why the Lord caused all these bad things to happen to them.’”
10 It took 20 years for King Solomon to build the Lord’s Temple and the king’s palace. 11 Hiram supplied Solomon with all the cedar, pine and gold that he wanted, so Solomon gave him 20 cities in Galilee. 12 So Hiram traveled from Tyre to see the cities that Solomon had given him. But Hiram was not pleased when he saw them. 13 King Hiram said, “What are these towns that you have given me, my brother?” King Hiram named that land the Land of Cabul.[g] And that area is still called Cabul today. 14 Hiram had sent King Solomon about 9000 pounds[h] of gold to use in building the Temple.
15 King Solomon forced slaves to work for him to build the Temple and his palace. Then he used these slaves to build many other things. He built the Millo and the city wall around Jerusalem. Then he rebuilt the cities of Hazor, Megiddo, and Gezer.
16 In the past the king of Egypt had fought against the city of Gezer and burned it. He killed the Canaanites who lived there. When Solomon married Pharaoh’s daughter, Pharaoh gave him that city as a wedding present. 17 Solomon rebuilt Gezer and the city of Lower Beth Horon. 18 He also built the cities of Baalath and Tamar in the Judean desert. 19 He also built cities where he could store grain, and he built places for his chariots and his horses. King Solomon also built whatever he wanted in Jerusalem, Lebanon, and all the places he ruled.
20 There were people left in the land who were not Israelites. There were Amorites, Hittites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites. 21 The Israelites had not been able to destroy them, but Solomon forced them to work for him as slaves. They are still slaves today. 22 Solomon did not force any Israelites to be his slaves. The Israelites were soldiers, government officials, officers, captains, and chariot commanders and drivers. 23 There were 550 supervisors over Solomon’s projects. They supervised the men who did the work.
24 Pharaoh’s daughter moved from the City of David to the palace that Solomon had built for her. Then he built the Millo.
25 Three times each year Solomon offered burnt offerings and fellowship offerings on the altar that he built for the Lord. King Solomon also burned incense before the Lord and supplied what was needed for the Temple.
26 King Solomon also built ships at Ezion Geber. This town is near Elath on the shore of the Red Sea, in the land of Edom. 27 King Hiram had some skilled sailors who knew the sea well. He sent them to serve in Solomon’s navy and work with Solomon’s men. 28 Solomon’s ships went to Ophir and brought back about 16 tons[i] of gold for him.