2 Chronicles 6
This event signals His acceptance of the temple and is reminiscent of His acceptance of the congregation tent in the desert.
6 Solomon: The Eternal has told us that He resides in a thick cloud. 2 Now I have built You a grand house where You can reside forever.
3-4 (turning to the standing assembly of Israel and blessing them) Blessed is the Eternal God of Israel, who made these promises to my father, David, with His mouth and fulfilled them with His hands:
5 Since the day I brought My people from the land of Egypt and traveled in the desert with them, I did not choose one city from among the Israelite tribes in which to build a temple where the people could worship Me, nor did I choose any man to lead My people Israel because I had always been their leader. 6 But now I have chosen Jerusalem as the place where My reputation will be honored and David as the leader of My people, Israel.
Verses 14-42 record is a remarkable prayer by Israel’s king. Solomon begins by confessing the Lord’s attributes and character. Then he speaks of his humility for being given the honor of building this magnificent house, the Jerusalem temple. Solomon’s public prayer before all the people brings to mind the conditional nature of this agreement between the Eternal and the people. The only way the temple can remain in operation and the people in the land is if they obey the Eternal’s commands.
Solomon realizes that rebellion, pestilence, and foreign invasion will come; but if the people open their eyes and lives to God, then His ears and eyes will be opened to the plight of Israel. The centerpiece of the Eternal’s relationship to Israel is the Jerusalem temple, and this is manifest at the moment when Solomon ends his prayer and divine fire comes from the heavens to consume the offerings and sacrifices.
7 Shortly after he became king, my father, our beloved King David, wanted to build a house honoring the reputation of the Eternal God of Israel. 8 But the Eternal did not agree to David’s plan. He told my father David, “It is good that you want to build a house honoring My reputation; 9 however, you will not build the house. Your future son will build that house to honor My reputation.”
10 Now the Eternal has fulfilled His promise—I have succeeded my father David as king of Israel and have built the temple honoring the reputation of the Eternal God of Israel. 11 In that house I have placed the chest that holds the covenant between the Eternal One and the Israelites.
12 Solomon stood before the assembly of Israel in front of the altar of the Eternal and spread out his hands. 13 Then he stood on the bronze platform he had built in the center of the court (90 inches long, 90 inches wide, and 54 inches high), knelt down, spread out his hands toward heaven, 14 and prayed.
Solomon: Eternal God of Israel, You are unparalleled among the gods of heaven and earth. You honor Your covenants with Your servants and give limitless loyal love to those who faithfully follow You. 15 Until now, You have honored Your covenant with my father David, Your servant and our beloved king, by doing all that You promised him. 16 Now that David is no longer king and I have replaced him, remember what You promised to my father David, Your servant: “As long as your descendants follow My laws as you have done, one of them will always be a king of Israel.” 17 Eternal God of Israel, honor this promise which You made to Your servant David.
18 How can I think that this temple I have built will be suitable lodging for You when the heavens You created are not vast enough? Certainly we are not worthy to have You live among us humans. 19 Yet we hope that You will hear and address our prayers and our pleas, Eternal God, and 20 that You will watch this humble temple day and night. This will be the place for us to communicate with You. Here Your reputation will be honored, so You will be able to hear the prayers Your servants offer here. 21 Listen to these prayers when we, Your people Israel, pray, looking toward this temple, Your earthly house; hear these prayers from Your house in heaven, and forgive us.
22 If a man breaks one of Your commandments by sinning against his neighbor, making an oath, and confesses the oath before Your altar in this earthly house, 23 then hear his oath from Your house in heaven. Judge his actions and act upon Your judgment—either punish the wicked man with the consequences of his actions or forgive the righteous man proportionate to his own righteousness.
24 If Your people Israel break Your commandments, are crushed by an enemy, and return to You, praying for forgiveness in Your earthly house, 25 then hear their prayers from Your house in heaven. Forgive the sins of Your people Israel and return them to the land You have given to their ancestors and their descendants.
26 If Your people Israel break Your commandments, are punished by a devastating drought, and return to You after their punishment by praying for forgiveness in Your earthly house, 27 then hear their prayers from Your house in heaven. Forgive the sins of Your servants, Your people Israel, teach them how to follow Your ways, and send rain to Your land that You have given as an inheritance to Your people.
28 If disasters, plague, or disease strike Israel—famine, pestilence, blight or mildew, locusts or grasshoppers, or military attacks at their gates— 29-30 then hear from Your house in heaven the prayers of every man (for his own sins) and the prayers of all Israel (for the sins of the nation) offered up with outstretched hands toward Your earthly house. Forgive or punish each man (whose intentions and heart only You know) proportionate to his behavior, 31 so that man will fear and obey You as long as he lives in the land that You have given to his ancestors.
32 If a foreigner (who is not one of Your people in Israel) travels to see this Your earthly house and pray toward it because of Your great name and Your mighty hand and Your outstretched arm, 33 then hear his prayers from Your house in heaven. Grant the foreigner’s request so that all nations may recognize Your name, fear You as we do, and recognize this temple as Your name’s dwelling place.
34 If Your people pray to You, facing Jerusalem and Your earthly house, while they are away fighting their enemies, 35 then hear their prayers and requests from heaven. Grant them victory.
36 When Your people sin against You (as everyone does), angering You so that You give them to their enemies and into foreign captivity, 37 if they pray to You and repent while in that land, admitting, “We have sinned, we have distorted Your ways, and we have acted wickedly,” 38 if they genuinely repent while captive in that foreign land and pray facing Israel (that You gave to our ancestors), and the city Jerusalem that You have chosen, and Your earthly house (which I have built to honor Your reputation), 39 then hear their prayers and requests from Your house in heaven. Sustain their cause and forgive their sins carried out against You.
40-41 Eternal God, may Your eyes witness and Your ears hear my prayer in this temple: Come to Your resting place, both You and the covenant chest of Your power. Let Your priests, O Eternal God, dress themselves in salvation. Let Your godly ones rejoice in goodness. 42 Do not turn away from Your newly anointed king; remember the loyal love You promised to Your servant, my father David.