1 Kings 5-9 Common English Bible (CEB)
Wood and stone for the temple
5 [a] Because King Hiram[b] of Tyre was loyal to David throughout his rule, Hiram sent his servants to Solomon when he heard that Solomon had become king after his father. 2 Solomon sent the following message to Hiram: 3 “You know that my father David wasn’t able to build a temple for the name of the Lord my God. This was because of the enemies that fought him on all sides until the Lord put them under the soles of his feet. 4 Now the Lord my God has given me peace on every side, without enemies or misfortune. 5 So I’m planning to build a temple for the name of the Lord my God, just as the Lord indicated to my father David, ‘I will give you a son to follow you on your throne. He will build the temple for my name.’ 6 Now give the order and have the cedars of Lebanon cut down for me. My servants will work with your servants. I’ll pay your servants whatever price you set, because you know we have no one here who is skilled in cutting wood like the Sidonians.”
7 Hiram was thrilled when he heard Solomon’s message. He said, “Today the Lord is blessed because he has given David a wise son who is in charge of this great people.” 8 Hiram sent word back to Solomon: “I have heard your message to me. I will do as you wish with the cedar and pinewood. 9 My servants will bring the wood down the Lebanon Mountains to the sea. I’ll make rafts out of them and float them on the sea to the place you specify. There I’ll dismantle them, and you can carry them away. Now, as for what you must do for me in return, I ask you to provide for my royal house.”
10 So Hiram gave Solomon all the cedar and pinewood that he wanted. 11 In return, Solomon gave an annual gift to Hiram of twenty thousand kors[c] of wheat to eat, and twenty thousand kors of pure oil for his palace use. 12 Now the Lord made Solomon wise, just as he had promised. Solomon and Hiram made a covenant and had peace.
13 King Solomon called up a work gang of thirty thousand workers from all over Israel. 14 He sent ten thousand to work in Lebanon each month. Then they would spend two months at home. Adoniram was in charge of the work gang. 15 Solomon had 70,000 laborers and 80,000 stonecutters in the highlands. 16 This doesn’t include Solomon’s 3,300 supervisors in charge of the work, who had oversight over the laborers. 17 At the king’s command, they quarried huge stones of the finest quality in order to lay the temple’s foundation with carefully cut stone. 18 The craftsmen of Solomon and Hiram, along with those of Byblos, prepared the timber and the stones for the construction of the temple.
Solomon builds the temple
6 In the four hundred eightieth year after the Israelites left Egypt, in the month of Ziv, the second month,[d] in the fourth year of Solomon’s rule over Israel, he built the Lord’s temple. 2 The temple that King Solomon built for the Lord was ninety feet long, thirty feet wide, and forty-five feet high. 3 The porch in front of the temple’s main hall was thirty feet long. It ran across the whole width of the temple and extended fifteen feet in front of the temple. 4 He made recessed and latticed windows[e] for the temple 5 and built side rooms against the temple walls around both the main hall and the most holy place. 6 The lower walls were seven and a half feet wide. At the second floor the walls were nine feet wide, and at the third floor they were ten and a half feet wide. He made niches around the outside of the temple so the beams wouldn’t be inserted into the temple walls.[f] 7 When the temple was built, they did all the stonecutting at the quarry. No hammers, axes, or any iron tools were heard in the temple during its construction. 8 The door to the stairs was at the south side of the temple. Winding stairs went up to the second floor and from there to the third floor. 9 He completed the temple with a roof of cedar beams and cross-planks.[g] 10 Then he built the side rooms all around the temple. They were seven and a half feet high. He attached them to the temple with cedarwood.
11 The Lord’s word came to Solomon, 12 Regarding this temple that you are building: If you follow my laws, enact my regulations, and keep all my commands faithfully, then I will fulfill for you my promise that I made to your father David. 13 I will live among the Israelites. I won’t abandon my people Israel.
14 So Solomon constructed the temple and completed it. 15 He built the walls within the temple with cedar planks, paneled from the floor to the ceiling. He overlaid the floor of the temple with pine planks. 16 At the back of the temple he built thirty feet of cedar panels from the floor to the ceiling. Solomon built the inner sanctuary, the most holy place. 17 In front of this, the main hall was sixty feet. 18 The cedar inside the temple was carved with gourds and blossoming flowers. The whole thing was cedar. No stone was seen. 19 He set up the inner sanctuary inside the temple so that he could put the chest containing the Lord’s covenant there. 20 The inner sanctuary was thirty feet in length, width, and height. Solomon overlaid it with pure gold and covered the altar with cedar.[h] 21 Solomon covered the temple’s interior with pure gold. He placed gold chains in front of the inner sanctuary and covered it with gold. 22 He overlaid the whole temple inside with gold until the temple was completely covered. He covered the whole altar that was in the inner sanctuary with gold. 23 He made two winged creatures of olive wood for the inner sanctuary, each fifteen feet high. 24 The wings of the first winged creature were each seven and a half feet long. It was fifteen feet from the end of one wing to the end of the other. 25 The second winged creature also measured fifteen feet. Both winged creatures had identical measurements and form. 26 The height of both winged creatures was fifteen feet. 27 Solomon placed the winged creatures inside the temple. Their wings spread out so that the wing of the one touched one wall and the wing of the other touched the other wall. In the middle of the temple, the wings of the two winged creatures touched each other. 28 He covered the winged creatures with gold.
29 Solomon carved all the walls of the temple—inner and outer rooms—with engravings of winged creatures, palm trees, and blossoming flowers. 30 He also covered the floor of the temple with gold, in both the inner and the outer rooms. 31 He made the doors of the inner sanctuary from olive wood and carved the doorframes with five recesses.[i] 32 He overlaid the two olive-wood doors with gold-plated carvings of winged creatures, palm trees, and blossoming flowers. 33 He made the door of the main hall with doorframes of olive wood with four recesses.[j] 34 The two doors of pinewood each pivoted on a socket. 35 Solomon carved winged creatures, palm trees, and blossoming flowers, and covered them with gold. 36 He built the inner courtyard with three rows of cut stone followed by one row of trimmed cedar.
37 Solomon laid the foundation of the Lord’s temple in the fourth year in the month of Ziv.[k] 38 He finished the temple in all its details and measurements in the eleventh year during the eighth month, the month of Bul.[l] He built it in seven years.
Solomon builds palaces
7 Now as for Solomon’s palace, it took thirteen years for him to complete its construction. 2 He built the Forest of Lebanon Palace one hundred fifty feet in length, seventy-five feet in width, and forty-five feet in height. It had four rows of cedar columns with cedar engravings above the columns. 3 The palace’s cedar roof stood above forty-five beams resting on the columns, fifteen beams to each row. 4 Three sets of window frames faced each other. 5 All the doorframes were rectangular, facing each other in three sets. 6 He made a porch with columns seventy-five feet long and forty-five feet wide. Another porch was in front of these with roofed columns in front of them.[m] 7 He made the throne room the Hall of Justice, where he would judge. It was covered with cedar from the lower to the upper levels. 8 The royal residence where Solomon lived was behind this hall. It had a similar design. Solomon also made a similar palace for his wife, Pharaoh’s daughter. 9 He built all these with the best stones cut to size, sawed with saws, back and front, from the foundation to the highest points and from the outer boundary to the great courtyard. 10 The foundation was laid with large stones of high quality, some of fifteen feet and some of twelve feet. 11 Above them were high-quality stones cut to measure, as well as cedar. 12 The surrounding great courtyard had three rows of cut stones and a row of trimmed cedar just like the inner courtyard of the Lord’s temple and its porch.
Solomon’s temple equipment
13 Then King Solomon sent a message and brought Hiram from Tyre. 14 Hiram’s mother was a widow from the tribe of Naphtali. His father was a Tyrian skilled in bronze work. He was amazingly skillful in the techniques and knowledge for doing all kinds of work in bronze. He came to King Solomon and did all his work.
15 He[n] cast two bronze pillars. Each one was twenty-seven feet high and required a cord of eighteen feet to reach around it.[o] 16 He made two capitals of cast bronze for the tops of the columns. They were each seven and a half feet high. 17 He made an intricate network of chains for the capitals on top of the columns, seven for each capital. 18 He made the pillars and two rows of pomegranates for each network to adorn each of the capitals. 19 The capitals on top of the columns in the porch were made like lilies, each six feet high. 20 Above the round-shaped part and next to the network were two hundred pomegranates. These were placed in rows around both of the capitals on top of the columns. 21 He set up the columns at the temple’s porch. He named the south column Jachin. The north column he named Boaz. 22 After putting the lily shapes on top of the columns, he was finished with the columns.
23 He also made a tank of cast metal called the Sea. It was circular in shape, fifteen feet from rim to rim, seven and a half feet high, forty-five feet in circumference. 24 Under the rim were two rows of gourds completely encircling it, ten every eighteen inches, each cast in its mold. 25 The Sea rested on twelve oxen with their backs toward the center, three facing north, three facing west, three facing south, and three facing east. 26 The Sea was as thick as the width of a hand. Its rim was shaped like a cup or an open lily blossom. It could hold two thousand baths.[p]
27 He also made ten bronze stands. Each was six feet long, six feet wide, and four and a half feet high. 28 This is how each stand was made: There were panels connected between the legs. 29 Lions, bulls, and winged otherworldly creatures appeared on the panels between the legs. On the legs above and below the lions and bulls were wreaths on panels hanging off the stands. 30 There were four bronze wheels with bronze axles for each stand. There were four feet and supports cast for each basin with wreaths on their sides.[q] 31 Inside the bowl was an opening eighteen inches deep. The opening was round, measuring twenty-seven inches, with engravings. The panels of the stands were square rather than round. 32 There were four wheels beneath the panels. The axles of the wheels were attached to the stand. Each wheel was twenty-seven inches in height. 33 The construction of the wheels resembled chariot wheels. The axles, rims, spokes, and hubs were all made of cast metal. 34 There was a handle on each of the four corners of every stand, projecting from the side of the stand. 35 The top of the stand had a band running around the perimeter that was nine inches deep. The stand had its own supports and panels. 36 On the surfaces of the supports and panels he carved winged otherworldly creatures, lions, and palm trees with wreaths everywhere.[r] 37 In this manner he made ten stands, each one cast in a single mold of the same size and shape.
38 He made ten bronze washbasins, each able to hold forty baths.[s] Every washbasin was six feet across, and there was one for each of the ten stands. 39 He placed five stands on the south of the temple and five on the north of the temple. He placed the Sea at the southeast corner of the temple.
40 Hiram made the basins, shovels, and bowls.
And so Hiram finished his work on the Lord’s temple for King Solomon:
41 two columns;
two circular capitals on top of the columns;
two networks, adorning the two circular capitals on top of the columns;
42 four hundred pomegranates for the two networks, with two rows of pomegranates for each network that adorned the two circular capitals on top of the columns;
43 ten stands with ten basins on them;
44 one Sea;
twelve oxen beneath the Sea;
45 and the pots, shovels, and bowls.
All the equipment that Hiram made for King Solomon for the Lord’s temple was made from polished bronze. 46 The king cast it in clay molds in the Jordan Valley between Succoth and Zarethan. 47 Due to the very large number of objects, Solomon didn’t even try to weigh the bronze.
48 Solomon also made all the equipment for the Lord’s temple: the gold altar; the gold table for the bread of the presence; 49 the lampstands of pure gold, five on the right and five on the left in front of the inner sanctuary; the flowers, the lamps, and the tongs of gold; 50 the cups, wick trimmers, bowls, ladles, and censers of pure gold; and the gold sockets for the doors to the most holy place and for the doors to the main hall. 51 When all King Solomon’s work on the Lord’s temple was finished, he brought the silver, gold, and all the objects his father David had dedicated and put them in the treasuries of the Lord’s temple.
Solomon dedicates the temple
8 Then Solomon assembled Israel’s elders, all the tribal leaders, and the chiefs of Israel’s clans at Jerusalem to bring up the chest containing the Lord’s covenant from David’s City Zion. 2 Everyone in Israel assembled before King Solomon in the seventh month, the month of Ethanim,[t] during the festival. 3 When all of Israel’s elders had arrived, the priests picked up the chest. 4 They brought the Lord’s chest, the meeting tent, and all the holy equipment that was in the tent. The priests and the Levites brought them up, 5 while King Solomon and the entire Israelite assembly that had joined him before the chest sacrificed countless sheep and oxen. 6 The priests brought the chest containing the Lord’s covenant to its designated spot beneath the wings of the winged creatures in the inner sanctuary of the temple, the most holy place. 7 The winged creatures spread their wings over the place where the chest rested, covering the chest and its carrying poles. 8 The carrying poles were so long that their tips could be seen from the holy place in front of the inner sanctuary, though they weren’t visible from outside. They are still there today. 9 Nothing was in the chest except the two stone tablets Moses had placed there while at Horeb, where the Lord made a covenant with the Israelites after they left Egypt. 10 When the priests left the holy place, the cloud filled the Lord’s temple, 11 and the priests were unable to carry out their duties due to the cloud because the Lord’s glory filled the Lord’s temple.
12 Then Solomon said, “The Lord said that he would live in a dark cloud, 13 but I have indeed built you a lofty temple as a place where you can live forever.” 14 The king turned around, and while the entire assembly of Israel was standing there, he blessed them, 15 saying, “Bless Israel’s God, the Lord, who spoke directly to my father David and now has kept his promise: 16 ‘From the day I brought my people Israel out of Egypt I haven’t selected a city from any Israelite tribe as a site for the building of a temple for my name. But now I have chosen David to be over my people Israel.’ 17 My father David wanted to build a temple for the name of the Lord, Israel’s God.
18 “But the Lord said to my father David, ‘It is very good that you thought to build a temple for my name. 19 Nevertheless, you yourself won’t build that temple. Instead, your very own son will build the temple for my name.’ 20 The Lord has kept his promise—I have succeeded my father David on Israel’s throne just as the Lord said, and I have built the temple for the name of the Lord, Israel’s God. 21 There I’ve placed the chest that contains the covenant that the Lord made with our ancestors when he brought them out of Egypt.”
22 Solomon stood before the Lord’s altar in front of the entire Israelite assembly and, spreading out his hands toward the sky, 23 he said:
Lord God of Israel, there’s no god like you in heaven above or on earth below. You keep the covenant and show loyalty to your servants who walk before you with all their heart. 24 This is the covenant you kept with your servant David, my father, which you promised him. Today, you have fulfilled what you promised. 25 So now, Lord, Israel’s God, keep what you promised my father David, your servant, when you said to him, “You will never fail to have a successor sitting on Israel’s throne as long as your descendants carefully walk before me just as you walked before me.” 26 So now, God of Israel, may your promise to your servant David, my father, come true.
27 But how could God possibly live on earth? If heaven, even the highest heaven, can’t contain you, how can this temple that I’ve built contain you? 28 Lord my God, listen to your servant’s prayer and request, and hear the cry and prayer that your servant prays to you today. 29 Constantly watch over this temple, the place about which you said, “My name will be there,” and listen to the prayer that your servant is praying toward[u] this place. 30 Listen to the request of your servant and your people Israel when they pray toward this place. Listen from your heavenly dwelling place, and when you hear, forgive!
31 If someone wrongs another and must make a solemn pledge asserting innocence before your altar in this temple,[v] 32 then listen from heaven, act, and decide which of your servants is right. Condemn the guilty party, repaying them for their conduct, but justify the innocent person, repaying them for their righteousness.
33 If your people Israel are defeated by an enemy because they have sinned against you, but then they change their hearts and lives, give thanks to your name, and ask for mercy before you at this temple, 34 then listen from heaven and forgive the sin of your people Israel. Return them to the land you gave their ancestors.
35 When the sky holds back its rain because Israel has sinned against you, but they then pray toward this place, give thanks to your name, and turn away from their sin because you have punished them for it,[w] 36 then listen from heaven and forgive the sin of your servants, your people Israel. Teach them the best way for them to follow, and send rain on your land that you gave to your people as an inheritance.
37 Whenever there is a famine or plague in the land; or whenever there is blight, mildew, locust, or grasshopper; or whenever someone’s enemy attacks them in their cities;[x] or any plague or illness comes; 38 whatever prayer or petition is made by any individual or by all of your people Israel—because people will recognize their own pain and spread out their hands toward this temple— 39 then listen from heaven where you live. Forgive, act, and repay each person according to all their conduct, because you know their hearts. You alone know the human heart. 40 Do this so that they may revere you all the days they live on the land that you gave to our ancestors.
41 Listen also to the immigrant who isn’t from your people Israel but who comes from a distant country because of your reputation— 42 because they will hear of your great reputation, your great power, and your outstretched arm. When the immigrant comes and prays toward this temple, 43 then listen from heaven, where you live, and do everything the immigrant asks. Do this so that all the people of the earth may know your reputation and revere you, as your people Israel do, and recognize that this temple I have built bears your name.
44 When your people go to war against their enemies, wherever you may send them, and they pray to the Lord toward the city you have chosen and toward this temple that I have built for your name, 45 then listen from heaven to their prayer and request and do what is right for them.
46 When they sin against you (for there is no one who doesn’t sin) and you become angry with them and hand them over to an enemy who takes them away as prisoners to enemy territory, whether distant or nearby, 47 if they change their heart in whatever land they are held captive, changing their lives and begging for your mercy,[y] saying, “We have sinned, we have done wrong, we have acted wickedly!” 48 and if they return to you with all their heart and all their being in the enemy territory where they’ve been taken captive, and pray to you, toward their land, which you gave their ancestors, toward the city you have chosen, and toward the temple I have built for your name, 49 then listen to their prayer and request from your heavenly dwelling place. Do what is right for them, 50 and forgive your people who have sinned against you. Forgive all their wrong that they have done against you. See to it that those who captured them show them mercy. 51 These are your people and your inheritance. You brought them out of Egypt, from the iron furnace.
52 Open your eyes to your servant’s request and to the request of your people Israel. Hear them whenever they cry out to you. 53 You set them apart from all the earth’s peoples as your own inheritance, Lord, just as you promised through your servant Moses when you brought our ancestors out of Egypt.
54 As soon as Solomon finished praying and making these requests to the Lord, he got up from before the Lord’s altar, where he had been kneeling with his hands spread out to heaven. 55 He stood up and blessed the whole Israelite assembly in a loud voice: 56 “May the Lord be blessed! He has given rest to his people Israel just as he promised. He hasn’t neglected any part of the good promise he made through his servant Moses. 57 May the Lord our God be with us, just as he was with our ancestors. May he never leave us or abandon us. 58 May he draw our hearts to him to walk in all his ways and observe his commands, his laws, and his judgments that he gave our ancestors. 59 And may these words of mine that I have cried out before the Lord remain near to the Lord our God day and night so that he may do right by his servant and his people Israel for each day’s need, 60 and so that all the earth’s peoples may know that the Lord is God. There is no other God! 61 Now may you be committed to the Lord our God with all your heart by following his laws and observing his commands, just as you are doing right now.”
62 Then the king and all Israel with him sacrificed to the Lord. 63 Solomon offered well-being sacrifices to the Lord: twenty-two thousand oxen and one hundred twenty thousand sheep when the king and all Israel dedicated the Lord’s temple. 64 On that day the king made holy the middle of the courtyard in front of the Lord’s temple. He had to offer the entirely burned offerings, grain offerings, and the fat of well-being sacrifices there, because the bronze altar that was in the Lord’s presence was too small to contain the entirely burned offerings, the grain offerings, and the fat of the well-being sacrifices. 65 At that time Solomon, together with all Israel, held a celebration. It was a large assembly from Lebo-hamath to the border of Egypt. They celebrated for seven days and then for another seven days in the presence of the Lord our God: fourteen days in all. 66 On the eighth day,[z] Solomon dismissed the people. They blessed the king and went back to their tents happy and pleased about all the good that the Lord had done for his servant David and for his people Israel.
Solomon again meets God
9 Now once Solomon finished building the Lord’s temple, the royal palace, and everything else he wanted to accomplish, 2 the Lord appeared to him a second time in the same way he had appeared to him at Gibeon. 3 The Lord said to him, “I have heard your prayer and your cry to me. I have set apart this temple that you built, to put my name there forever. My eyes and my heart will always be there. 4 As for you, if you walk before me just as your father David did, with complete dedication and honesty, and if you do all that I have commanded, and keep my regulations and case laws, 5 then I will establish your royal throne over Israel forever, just as I promised your father David, ‘You will never fail to have a successor on the throne of Israel.’ 6 However, if you or your sons turn away from following me and don’t observe the commands and regulations that I gave you, and go to serve other gods, and worship them, 7 then I will remove Israel from the land I gave them and I will reject the temple that I dedicated for my name. Israel will become a joke, insulted by everyone. 8 Everyone who passes by this temple, so lofty now,[aa] will be shocked and will whistle, wondering, Why has the Lord done such a thing to this land and this temple? 9 The answer will come: Because they deserted the Lord their God, who brought their ancestors out of Egypt’s land. They embraced other gods, worshipping and serving them. That is why the Lord brought all this disaster on them.”
Solomon’s buildings and prosperity
10 It took twenty years for Solomon to build the two structures, the Lord’s temple and the royal palace. 11 King Hiram of Tyre gave Solomon all the cedar, pinewood, and gold that he wanted. Then King Solomon gave Hiram twenty towns in the region of Galilee. 12 Hiram went from Tyre to inspect the towns Solomon had given him. They didn’t seem adequate in his view. 13 So Hiram remarked, “My brother, are these towns you’ve given me good for anything?” The cities are thus called the land of Cabul to this very day. 14 But Hiram sent the king one hundred twenty gold kikkars, nevertheless.
15 This is the story of the labor gang that King Solomon put together to build the Lord’s temple and his own palace, as well as the stepped structure, the wall of Jerusalem, Hazor, Megiddo, and Gezer: (16 Pharaoh, Egypt’s king, had attacked and captured Gezer, setting it on fire. He killed the Canaanites who lived in the city and gave it as a dowry to his daughter, Solomon’s wife.) 17 Solomon built Gezer, Lower Beth-horon, 18 Baalath, and Tamar in the wilderness (within the land), 19 along with all the storage cities that belonged to Solomon, as well as the cities used for storing chariots and cavalry and whatever he wanted to build in Jerusalem, Lebanon, and throughout his kingdom. 20 Any non-Israelite people who remained of the Amorites, Hittites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites— 21 that is, the descendants of such people who were still in the land because the Israelites weren’t able to wipe them out—Solomon forced into the labor gangs that are still in existence today. 22 However, Solomon didn’t force the Israelites to work as slaves; instead, they became warriors, his servants, his leaders, his officers, and those in charge of his chariots and cavalry.
23 These were the chief officers over Solomon’s work: five hundred fifty had charge of the people who did the work. 24 When Pharaoh’s daughter went up from David’s City to the palace he had built for her, Solomon built the stepped structure. 25 Three times a year Solomon would offer entirely burned offerings and well-being sacrifices on the altar that he had built for the Lord. Along with this he would burn incense to the Lord. In this way, he completed the temple.[ab] 26 King Solomon built a fleet near Eloth in Ezion-geber, on the coast of the Reed Sea[ac] in the land of Edom. 27 Hiram sent his expert sailors on the fleet along with Solomon’s workers. 28 They went to Ophir for four hundred twenty kikkars of gold, which they brought back to King Solomon.