2 Chronicles 6-10 Common English Bible (CEB)
6 Then Solomon said, “The Lord said that he would live in a dark cloud; 2 but God, I have built you a lofty temple—a place where you can live forever.”
3 The king turned around, and while the entire assembly of Israel was standing there, he blessed them, 4 saying:
Bless the Lord, the God of Israel, who spoke directly to my father David and now has kept his promise: 5 “From the day I brought my people out of the land of Egypt, I haven’t selected a city from any Israelite tribe as a site for the building of a temple for my name. Neither have I chosen anyone as prince over my people Israel. 6 But now I have chosen Jerusalem as a place for my name, and David as prince over my people Israel.”
7 My father David wanted to build a temple for the name of the Lord, Israel’s God. 8 But the Lord said to my father David: “It is very good that you thought to build a temple for my name. Nevertheless, 9 you yourself won’t build that temple. Instead, your very own son will build the temple for my name.” 10 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. 11 There I’ve placed the chest that contains the covenant that the Lord made with the Israelites.
12 Solomon stood before the Lord’s altar in front of the entire Israelite assembly and spread out his hands. 13 Now Solomon had made a bronze platform seven and a half feet long, seven and a half feet wide, and four and a half feet high, and he set it in the middle of the enclosure. He stood on it. Then, kneeling before the whole assembly of Israel and spreading his hands toward the sky, 14 he said:
Lord God of Israel, there is no god like you in heaven or on the earth. You keep the covenant and show loyalty to your servants who walk before you with all their heart. 15 This is the covenant you kept with your servant David my father, which you promised him. Today you have fulfilled what you promised.
16 So now, Lord God of Israel, 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 according to my Instruction, just as you have walked before me.” 17 So now, Lord God of Israel, may your promise to your servant David come true.
18 But how could God possibly live on earth with people? If heaven, even the highest heaven, can’t contain you, how can this temple that I have built contain you? 19 Lord, my God, listen to your servant’s prayer and request, and hear the cry and prayer that I your servant pray to you. 20 Constantly watch over this temple, the place where you promised to put your name, and listen to the prayer your servant is praying concerning this place. 21 Listen to the request of your servant and your people Israel when they pray concerning this place. Listen from your heavenly dwelling place, and when you hear, forgive!
22 If someone wrongs another and must take a solemn pledge asserting his innocence before your altar in this temple, 23 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.
24 If your people Israel are defeated by an enemy because they have sinned against you, but then they change their hearts, give thanks to your name, and ask for mercy in your presence at this temple, 25 then listen from heaven and forgive the sin of your people Israel. Return them to the land you gave to them and their ancestors.
26 When the sky holds back its rain because Israel has sinned against you, but they then pray concerning this place, give thanks to your name, and turn away from their sin because you have punished them for it,[a] 27 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.
28 Whenever there is a famine or plague in the land, or whenever there is blight, mildew, locusts, or grasshoppers, or whenever someone’s enemies attack them in their cities, or any plague or illness comes, 29 whatever prayer or petition is made by any individual or by all of your people Israel—because people will recognize their own pain and suffering and spread out their hands toward this temple— 30 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! 31 Do this that they may revere you by following your ways all the days they live on the fertile land that you gave to our ancestors.
32 Listen also to the foreigner who isn’t from your people Israel, but who comes from a distant country because of your great reputation, your great power, and your outstretched arm. When they come and pray toward this temple, 33 then listen from heaven where you live, and do everything the foreigner 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.
34 When your people go to war against their enemies, wherever you may send them, and they pray to you toward this city that you have chosen and concerning this temple that I have built for your name, 35 then listen from heaven to their prayer and request and do what is right for them.
36 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, 37 if they change their heart in whatever land they are held captive, turning back and begging for your mercy,[b] saying, “We have sinned, we have done wrong, and we have acted wickedly!” 38 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 concerning their land, which you gave to their ancestors, concerning the city you have chosen, and concerning this temple I have built for your name, 39 then listen to their prayer and request from your heavenly dwelling place. Do what is right for them, and forgive your people who have sinned against you.
40 Now, my God, may your eyes be open and your ears attentive to the prayers of this place. 41 And now go, Lord God, to your resting place, you and your mighty chest. May your priests, Lord God, be clothed with salvation; may those loyal to you rejoice in what is good. 42 Lord God, don’t reject your anointed one.[c] Remember your faithful loyalty to your servant David.
7 As soon as Solomon finished praying, fire came down from heaven and consumed the entirely burned offering and the sacrifices, while the Lord’s glory filled the temple. 2 The priests were unable to enter the Lord’s temple because the Lord’s glory had filled the Lord’s temple. 3 All the Israelites were watching when the fire fell. As the Lord’s glory filled the temple, they knelt down on the pavement with their faces to the ground, worshipping and giving thanks to the Lord, saying, “Yes, God is good! Yes, God’s faithful love lasts forever!”
4 Then the king and all the people sacrificed to the Lord. 5 King Solomon sacrificed twenty-two thousand oxen and one hundred twenty thousand sheep when the king and all the people dedicated God’s temple. 6 The priests stood at their posts, as did the Levites with the Lord’s musical instruments, which King David had made for giving thanks to the Lord, saying, “Yes, God’s faithful love lasts forever!” and which David had used when he gave praise. Across from them, the priests were blowing trumpets while all Israel was standing.
7 Solomon also dedicated the middle of the courtyard in front of the Lord’s temple. He had to offer the entirely burned offerings and the fat of the well-being sacrifices there because the bronze altar Solomon had made was too small to contain the entirely burned offerings, the grain offerings, and the pieces of fat.
8 At that time Solomon, together with all Israel, celebrated the festival for seven days. It was a very large assembly that came from Lebo-hamath to the border[d] of Egypt. 9 On the eighth day there was a gathering. They had dedicated the altar for seven days and celebrated the festival for another seven days. 10 On the twenty-third day of the seventh month,[e] Solomon dismissed the people to their tents, happy and content because of the goodness the Lord had shown to David, to Solomon, and to his people Israel. 11 In this way, Solomon finished the Lord’s temple and the royal palace. He successfully accomplished everything he intended for the Lord’s temple and his own palace.
Solomon again meets God
12 Then the Lord appeared to Solomon at night and said to him: I have heard your prayer and have chosen this place as my house of sacrifice. 13 When I close the sky so that there is no rain or I order the locusts to consume the land or I send a plague against my people, 14 if my people who belong to me will humbly pray, seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, forgive their sin, and heal their land. 15 From now on my eyes will be open and my ears will pay attention to the prayers offered in this place, 16 because I have chosen this temple and declared it holy so that my name may be there forever. My eyes and my heart will always be there. 17 As for you, if you will walk before me just as your father David did, doing all that I have commanded you and keeping my regulations and case laws, 18 then I will establish your royal throne, just as I promised your father David: You will never fail to have a successor ruling in Israel. 19 But if any of you ever turn away from and abandon the regulations and commands that I have given you, and go to serve other gods and worship them, 20 then I will uproot you[f] from my land that I gave you, and I will reject this temple that I made holy for my name. I will make it a joke, insulted by everyone. 21 Everyone who passes by this temple—so lofty now—will be shocked and will wonder, Why has the Lord done such a thing to this land and temple? 22 The answer will come, Because they abandoned the Lord, the God of their ancestors, who brought them out of Egypt. They embraced other gods, worshipping and serving them. This is why God brought all this disaster on them.
Solomon’s buildings and prosperity
8 After twenty years of building the Lord’s temple and his royal palace, 2 Solomon next rebuilt the cities Huram had given him, and he settled Israelites there.
3 Solomon went to Hamath-zobah and seized it. 4 He fortified Tadmor in the wilderness, along with all the storage cities he had built in Hamath. 5 Solomon also built Upper Beth-horon and Lower Beth-horon as fortress cities with walls, gates, and crossbars; 6 Baalath; all the cities he used for storage; and all the cities used for chariots and cavalry—along with everything else he wanted to build in Jerusalem, Lebanon, and throughout his kingdom.
7 Any non-Israelite people who remained of the Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites— 8 that is, the descendants of such people who were still in the land because the Israelites weren’t able to destroy them—Solomon forced into the labor gangs that are still in existence today. 9 However, Solomon didn’t force the Israelites to work as slaves; instead, they became warriors, chief officers, and the commanders of his chariots and cavalry. 10 And Solomon had two hundred fifty chief officers[g] who were in charge of the people.
11 Solomon brought Pharaoh’s daughter from David’s City to a palace he had built for her, because he said, “My wife mustn’t live in the palace of Israel’s King David, because the places where the Lord’s chest has been are holy.”
12 Then Solomon offered entirely burned offerings to the Lord on the Lord’s altar that Solomon had built in front of the porch, 13 as each day required, according to the commandment of Moses for sabbaths, new moon festivals, and the three annual festivals—Unleavened Bread, Weeks, and Booths. 14 Just as his father David had ordered, Solomon set up the divisions of the priests for their services and the Levites to their posts for offering praise and ministering in front of the priests, doing what needed to be done each day; as well as the gatekeepers in their divisions at each gate, because this was what David the man of God had commanded. 15 They didn’t deviate in any way from the king’s commands concerning the priests, the Levites, or the treasuries. 16 All Solomon’s work was carried out from the day the foundation of the Lord’s temple was laid until its completion. Then the Lord’s temple was completely finished.
17 Then Solomon went to Ezion-geber and Eloth on the coast in the land of Edom. 18 Huram had his servants bring ships to Solomon, along with crews of expert sailors. They went with Solomon’s servants to Ophir and imported four hundred fifty kikkars of gold, which they brought back to King Solomon.
Queen of Sheba
9 When the queen of Sheba heard reports about Solomon, she came to Jerusalem to test Solomon with riddles. Accompanying her was a huge entourage, with camels carrying spices, large amounts of gold, and precious stones. After she arrived, she told Solomon everything that was on her mind. 2 Solomon answered all her questions; nothing was too difficult for him to answer. 3 When the queen of Sheba saw how wise Solomon was, the palace he had built, 4 the food on his table, his servants’ quarters, the function and dress of his attendants, his cupbearers and their dress, and the entirely burned offerings he offered at the Lord’s temple,[h] it took her breath away.
5 “The report I heard about your deeds and wisdom when I was still at home is true,” she said to the king. 6 “I didn’t believe it until I came and saw it with my own eyes. In fact, the half of it wasn’t told to me! You have far more than I was told. 7 Your people and these servants who continually serve you and get to listen to your wisdom are truly happy! 8 Bless the Lord your God because he was pleased to put you on the throne as king for the Lord your God. Because your God loved Israel and wanted to establish them forever, he has made you their king to uphold justice and righteousness.”
9 Then she gave the king one hundred twenty kikkars of gold, a great quantity of spices, and precious stones. Never again has such a quantity of spice come to Israel as when the queen of Sheba gave this gift to King Solomon.
10 In addition, Huram’s servants and the servants of Solomon, who had brought gold back from Ophir, also brought algum wood and precious stones. 11 The king made steps[i] for the Lord’s temple and for the royal palace with the algum wood, as well as lyres and harps for the musicians. Never before had anything like them been seen in the land of Judah. 12 King Solomon gave the queen of Sheba everything she wanted, even more than she had brought the king. Then she and her servants returned to her homeland.
13 Solomon received an annual income of six hundred sixty-six kikkars of gold, 14 not including income from the traders and merchants. All the Arabian kings and the governors of the land also brought Solomon gold and silver. 15 King Solomon made two hundred body-sized shields of hammered gold, using fifteen pounds[j] of hammered gold in each shield; 16 and three hundred small shields of hammered gold, using seven and a half pounds[k] of hammered gold in each shield. The king placed these in the Forest of Lebanon Palace.
17 The king also made a large ivory throne and covered it with pure gold. 18 Six steps led up to the throne, which had a gold footrest attached. Two lions stood beside the armrests on both sides of the throne. 19 Another twelve lions stood on both sides of the six steps. No other kingdom had anything like this.
20 All King Solomon’s drinking cups were made of gold, and all the items in the Forest of Lebanon Palace were made of pure gold, not silver, since even silver wasn’t considered good enough in Solomon’s time! 21 The royal fleet sailed to Tarshish with the servants of Huram, returning once every three years with gold, silver, ivory, monkeys, and peacocks.[l]
22 King Solomon far exceeded all the earth’s kings in wealth and wisdom, 23 and kings of every nation wanted an audience with Solomon in order to hear his God-given wisdom. 24 Year after year they came with tribute: objects of silver and gold, clothing, weapons, spices, horses, and mules.
25 Solomon also had four thousand stalls for horses and chariots, together with twelve thousand horsemen that he kept in the chariot cities and with the king in Jerusalem. 26 He ruled all the kings from the Euphrates[m] to the Philistines’ land and the border of Egypt. 27 In Jerusalem, the king made silver as common as stones and cedar as common as sycamore trees that grow in the foothills. 28 Solomon’s horses were imported from Egypt and every land.
Solomon’s remaining days
29 The rest of Solomon’s deeds, from beginning to end, aren’t they written in the records of the prophet Nathan, the prophecies of Ahijah from Shiloh, and the visions of the seer Iddo concerning Jeroboam, Nebat’s son? 30 Solomon ruled over all Israel in Jerusalem for forty years. 31 Solomon lay down with his ancestors and was buried in David’s City with his father. His son Rehoboam succeeded him as king.
How Rehoboam lost the kingdom
10 Rehoboam went to Shechem, where all Israel had come to make him king. 2 When Jeroboam, Nebat’s son, heard the news, he returned from Egypt where he had fled from King Solomon. 3 The people sent and called for Jeroboam, who along with all Israel came and said to Rehoboam, 4 “Your father made our workload[n] very heavy; if you will lessen the demands your father made of us and lighten the heavy workload he demanded from us, then we will serve you.”
5 He answered them, “Come back in three days.” So the people left.
6 King Rehoboam consulted the elders who had served his father Solomon when he was alive. “What do you advise?” Rehoboam asked. “How should I respond to these people?”
7 “If you are kind to these people and try to please them by speaking gently with them,” they replied, “they will be your servants forever.”
8 But Rehoboam ignored the advice the elders gave him and instead sought the counsel of the young advisors who had grown up with him and now served him. 9 “What do you advise?” he asked them. “How should we respond to these people who said to me, ‘Lighten the workload your father demanded from us’?”
10 The young people who had grown up with Rehoboam said to him, “This people said to you, ‘Your father made our workload heavy. Lighten it for us!’ Now this is what you should say to them, ‘My baby[o] finger is thicker than my father’s waist! 11 So if my father made your workload heavy, I’ll make it even heavier! If my father disciplined you with whips, I’ll do it with scorpions!’”
12 Jeroboam and all the people returned to Rehoboam on the third day, just as the king had specified when he said, “Come back in three days.” 13 The king then answered the people harshly. He ignored the elders’ advice, 14 and instead followed the young people’s advice. He said, “My father made your workload heavy, but I’ll make it even heavier; my father disciplined you with whips, but I’ll do it with scorpions!”
15 The king didn’t listen to the people because this turn of events came from God so that the Lord might keep his promise concerning Jeroboam, Nebat’s son, which God delivered through Ahijah from Shiloh. 16 When all Israel saw[p] that the king wouldn’t listen to them, the people answered the king,
“Why should we care about David?
Then all Israel went back to their homes, 17 and Rehoboam ruled over only the Israelites who lived in the cities of Judah.
18 When King Rehoboam sent Hadoram to them (he was the leader of the work gang), the Israelites stoned him to death. King Rehoboam quickly got into his chariot and fled to Jerusalem. 19 And so Israel has been in rebellion against David’s dynasty to this day.