2 Chronicles 5-7 The Message (MSG)
5 That completed the work King Solomon did on The Temple of God. He then brought in the holy offerings of his father David, the silver and the gold and the artifacts. He placed them all in the treasury of God’s Temple.
Installing the Chest
2-3 Bringing all this to a climax, Solomon got all the leaders together in Jerusalem—all the chiefs of tribes and the family patriarchs—to move the Chest of the Covenant of God from Zion and install it in The Temple. All the men of Israel assembled before the king on the feast day of the seventh month, the Feast of Booths.
4-6 When all the leaders of Israel were ready, the Levites took up the Chest. They carried the Chest, the Tent of Meeting, and all the sacred things in the Tent used in worship. The priests, all Levites, carried them. King Solomon and the entire congregation of Israel were there before the Chest, worshiping and sacrificing huge numbers of sheep and cattle—so many that no one could keep track.
7-10 The priests brought the Chest of the Covenant of God to its place in the Inner Sanctuary, the Holy of Holies, under the wings of the cherubim. The outspread wings of the cherubim formed a canopy over the Chest and its poles. The ends of the poles were so long that they stuck out from the entrance of the Inner Sanctuary, but were not noticeable further out—they’re still there today. There was nothing in the Chest itself but the two stone tablets that Moses had placed in it at Horeb where God made a covenant with Israel after bringing them up from Egypt.
11-13 The priests then left the Holy Place. All the priests there were consecrated, regardless of rank or assignment; and all the Levites who were musicians were there—Asaph, Heman, Jeduthun, and their families, dressed in their worship robes; the choir and orchestra assembled on the east side of the Altar and were joined by 120 priests blowing trumpets. The choir and trumpets made one voice of praise and thanks to God—orchestra and choir in perfect harmony singing and playing praise to God:
Yes! God is good!
13-14 Then a billowing cloud filled The Temple of God. The priests couldn’t even carry out their duties because of the cloud—the glory of God!—that filled The Temple of God.
Solomon’s Dedication and Prayer
6 1-2 Then Solomon said,
God said he would dwell in a cloud,
3 The king then turned to face the congregation that had come together and blessed them:
4-6 “Blessed be God, the God of Israel, who spoke personally to my father David. Now he has done what he promised when he said, ‘From the day I brought my people Israel up from Egypt, I haven’t set apart one city among the tribes of Israel in which to build a temple to honor my Name, or chosen one person to be the leader. But now I have chosen both a city and a person: Jerusalem for honoring my Name and David to lead my people Israel.’
7-9 “My father David very much wanted to build a temple honoring the Name of God, the God of Israel, but God told him, ‘It was good that you wanted to build a temple in my honor—most commendable! But you are not the one to do it. Your son, who will carry on your dynasty, will build it for my Name.’
10-11 “And now you see the promise completed. God has done what he said he would do; I have succeeded David my father and now rule Israel; and I have built a temple to honor God, the God of Israel, and have secured a place for the Chest that holds the Covenant of God, the covenant he made with the people of Israel.”
12-16 Before the entire congregation of Israel, Solomon took his position at the Altar of God and stretched out his hands. Solomon had made a bronze dais seven and a half feet square and four and a half feet high and placed it inside the court; that’s where he now stood. Then he knelt in full view of the whole congregation, stretched his hands to heaven, and prayed:
God, O God of Israel, there is no God like you in the skies above or on the earth below, who unswervingly keeps covenant with his servants and unfailingly loves them while they sincerely live in obedience to your way. You kept your word to David my father, your promise. You did exactly what you promised—every detail. The proof is before us today!
Keep it up, God, O God of Israel! Continue to keep the promises you made to David my father when you said, “You’ll always have a descendant to represent my rule on Israel’s throne, on the one condition that your sons are as careful to live obediently in my presence as you have.”
17 O God, God of Israel, let this all happen—
18-21 Can it be that God will actually move into our neighborhood? Why, the cosmos itself isn’t large enough to give you breathing room, let alone this Temple I’ve built. Even so, I’m bold to ask: Pay attention to these my prayers, both intercessory and personal, O God, my God. Listen to my prayers, energetic and devout, that I’m setting before you right now. Keep your eyes open to this Temple day and night, this place you promised to dignify with your Name. And listen to the prayers that I pray in this place. And listen to your people Israel when they pray at this place.
Listen from your home in heaven
22 When someone hurts a neighbor and promises to make things right, and then comes and repeats the promise before your Altar in this Temple,
23 Listen from heaven and act;
24-25 When your people Israel are beaten by an enemy because they’ve sinned against you, but then turn to you and acknowledge your rule in prayers desperate and devout in this Temple,
Listen from your home in heaven;
26-27 When the skies shrivel up and there is no rain because your people have sinned against you, but then they pray at this place, acknowledging your rule and quit their sins because you have scourged them,
Listen from your home in heaven,
28-31 When disasters strike, famine or catastrophe, crop failure or disease, locust or beetle, or when an enemy attacks their defenses—calamity of any sort—any prayer that’s prayed from anyone at all among your people Israel, their hearts penetrated by disaster, hands and arms thrown out for help to this Temple,
Listen from your home in heaven, forgive and reward us:
32 And don’t forget the foreigner who is not a member of your people Israel but has come from a far country because of your reputation—people are going to be attracted here by your great reputation, your wonderworking power—and who come to pray to this Temple.
33 Listen from your home in heaven
34-35 When your people go to war against their enemies at the time and place you send them and they pray to God toward the city you chose and The Temple I’ve built to honor your Name,
Listen from heaven to what they pray and ask for
36-39 When they sin against you—and they certainly will; there’s no one without sin!—and in anger you turn them over to the enemy and they are taken captive to the enemy’s land, whether far or near, but repent in the country of their captivity and pray with changed hearts in their exile, “We’ve sinned; we’ve done wrong; we’ve been most wicked,” and turn back to you heart and soul in the land of the enemy who conquered them, and pray to you toward their homeland, the land you gave their ancestors, toward the city you chose, and this Temple I have built to the honor of your Name,
Listen from your home in heaven
40 And now, dear God, be alert and attentive to prayer, all prayer, offered in this place.
41-42 Up, God, enjoy your new place of quiet repose,
The Temple Dedication
7 1-3 When Solomon finished praying, a bolt of lightning out of heaven struck the Whole-Burnt-Offering and sacrifices and the Glory of God filled The Temple. The Glory was so dense that the priests couldn’t get in—God so filled The Temple that there was no room for the priests! When all Israel saw the fire fall from heaven and the Glory of God fill The Temple, they fell on their knees, bowed their heads, and worshiped, thanking God:
Yes! God is good!
4-6 Then the king and all Israel worshiped, offering sacrifices to God. King Solomon worshiped by sacrificing 22,000 cattle and 120,000 sheep at the dedication of The Temple. The priests were all on duty; the choir and orchestra of Levites that David had provided for singing and playing anthems to the praise and love of God were all there; across the courtyard the priests blew trumpets. All Israelites were on their feet.
7-10 Solomon set apart the central area of the courtyard in front of God’s Temple for sacred use and there sacrificed the Whole-Burnt-Offerings, Grain-Offerings, and fat from the Peace-Offerings—the Bronze Altar was too small to handle all these offerings. This is how Solomon kept the great autumn Feast of Booths. For seven days there were people there all the way from the far northeast (the Entrance to Hamath) to the far southwest (the Brook of Egypt)—a huge congregation. They started out celebrating for seven days, and then did it for another seven days, a week for dedicating the Altar and another for the Feast itself—two solid weeks of celebration! On the twenty-third day of the seventh month Solomon dismissed his congregation. They left rejoicing, exuberant over all the good God had done for David and Solomon and his people Israel.
11 Solomon completed building The Temple of God and the royal palace—the projects he had set his heart on doing. Everything was done—success! Satisfaction!
12-18 God appeared to Solomon that very night and said, “I accept your prayer; yes, I have chosen this place as a temple for sacrifice, a house of worship. If I ever shut off the supply of rain from the skies or order the locusts to eat the crops or send a plague on my people, and my people, my God-defined people, respond by humbling themselves, praying, seeking my presence, and turning their backs on their wicked lives, I’ll be there ready for you: I’ll listen from heaven, forgive their sins, and restore their land to health. From now on I’m alert day and night to the prayers offered at this place. Believe me, I’ve chosen and sanctified this Temple that you have built: My Name is stamped on it forever; my eyes are on it and my heart in it always. As for you, if you live in my presence as your father David lived, pure in heart and action, living the life I’ve set out for you, attentively obedient to my guidance and judgments, then I’ll back your kingly rule over Israel—make it a sure thing on a sure foundation. The same covenant guarantee I gave to David your father I’m giving to you, namely, ‘You can count on always having a descendant on Israel’s throne.’
19-22 “But if you or your sons betray me, ignoring my guidance and judgments, taking up with alien gods by serving and worshiping them, then the guarantee is off: I’ll wipe Israel right off the map and repudiate this Temple I’ve just sanctified to honor my Name. And Israel will be nothing but a bad joke among the peoples of the world. And this Temple, splendid as it now is, will become an object of contempt; tourists will shake their heads, saying, ‘What happened here? What’s the story behind these ruins?’ Then they’ll be told, ‘The people who used to live here betrayed their God, the very God who rescued their ancestors from Egypt; they took up with alien gods, worshiping and serving them. That’s what’s behind this God-visited devastation.’”