1 Kings 8:22-66
Solomon Prays to Set the Temple Apart to the Lord
Then Solomon stood in front of the Lord’s altar. He stood in front of the whole community of Israel. He spread out his hands toward heaven. He said,
“Lord, you are the God of Israel. There is no God like you in heaven above or on earth below. You keep the covenant you made with us. You show us your love. You do that when we follow you with all our hearts. You have kept your promise to my father David. He was your servant. With your mouth you made a promise. With your powerful hand you have made it come true. And today we can see it.
“Lord, you are the God of Israel. Keep the promises you made to my father David. Do it for him. He was your servant. Here is what you said to him. ‘A son from your family line will sit before me on the throne of Israel. This will always be true if your children after you are careful in everything they do. They must live in my sight faithfully the way you have lived.’ God of Israel, let your promise to my father David come true.
“But will you really live on earth? After all, the heavens can’t hold you. In fact, even the highest heavens can’t hold you. So this temple I’ve built certainly can’t hold you! But please pay attention to my prayer. Lord my God, be ready to help me as I make my appeal to you. Listen to my cry for help. Hear the prayer I’m praying to you today. Let your eyes look toward this temple night and day. You said, ‘I will put my Name there.’ So please listen to the prayer I’m praying toward this place. Hear me when I ask you to help us. Listen to your people Israel when they pray toward this place. Listen to us from heaven. It’s the place where you live. When you hear us, forgive us.
“Suppose someone does something wrong to their neighbor. And the person who has done something wrong is required to give their word. They must tell the truth about what they have done. They must come and do it in front of your altar in this temple. When they do, listen to them from heaven. Take action. Judge between the person and their neighbor. Punish the guilty one. Do to that person what they have done to their neighbor. Deal with the one who isn’t guilty in a way that shows they are free from blame. That will prove they aren’t guilty.
“Suppose your people Israel have lost the battle against their enemies. And suppose they’ve sinned against you. But they turn back to you and praise your name. They pray to you in this temple. And they ask you to help them. Then listen to them from heaven. Forgive the sin of your people Israel. Bring them back to the land you gave to their people who lived long ago.
“Suppose your people have sinned against you. And because of that, the sky is closed up and there isn’t any rain. But your people pray toward this place. They praise you by admitting they’ve sinned. And they turn away from their sin because you have made them suffer. Then listen to them from heaven. Forgive the sin of your people Israel. Teach them the right way to live. Send rain on the land you gave them as their share.
“Suppose there isn’t enough food in the land. And a plague strikes the land. The hot winds completely dry up our crops. Or locusts or grasshoppers come and eat them up. Or an enemy surrounds one of our cities and gets ready to attack it. Or trouble or sickness comes. But suppose one of your people prays to you. They ask you to help them. They are aware of how much their own heart is suffering. And they spread out their hands toward this temple to pray. Then listen to them from heaven. It’s the place where you live. Forgive them. Take action. Deal with everyone in keeping with everything they do. You know their hearts. In fact, you are the only one who knows every human heart. Your people will have respect for you. They will respect you as long as they are in the land you gave our people long ago.
“Suppose there are outsiders who don’t belong to your people Israel. And they have come from a land far away. They’ve come because they’ve heard about your name. When they get here, they will find out even more about your great name. They’ll hear about how you reached out your mighty hand and powerful arm. So they’ll come and pray toward this temple. Then listen to them from heaven. It’s the place where you live. Do what those outsiders ask you to do. Then all the nations on earth will know you. They will have respect for you. They’ll respect you just as your own people Israel do. They’ll know that your Name is in this house I’ve built.
“Suppose your people go to war against their enemies. It doesn’t matter where you send them. And suppose they pray to you toward the city you have chosen. They pray toward the temple I’ve built for your Name. Then listen to them from heaven. Listen to their prayer for your help. Stand up for them.
“Suppose your people sin against you. After all, there isn’t anyone who doesn’t sin. And suppose you get angry with them. You hand them over to their enemies. They take them as prisoners to their own lands. It doesn’t matter whether those lands are near or far away. But suppose your people change their ways in the land where they are held as prisoners. They turn away from their sins. They beg you to help them in the land of those who won the battle over them. They say, ‘We have sinned. We’ve done what is wrong. We’ve done what is evil.’ And they turn back to you with all their heart and soul. Suppose it happens in the land of their enemies who took them away as prisoners. There they pray to you toward the land you gave their people long ago. They pray toward the city you have chosen. And they pray toward the temple I’ve built for your Name. Then listen to them from heaven. It’s the place where you live. Listen to their prayer. Listen to them when they ask you to help them. Stand up for them. Your people have sinned against you. Please forgive them. Forgive them for all the wrong things they’ve done against you. And make those who won the battle over them show mercy to them. After all, they are your people. They belong to you. You brought them out of Egypt. You brought them out of that furnace that melts iron down and makes it pure.
“Let your eyes be open to me when I ask you to help us. Let them be open to your people Israel when they ask you to help them. Pay attention to them every time they cry out to you. After all, you chose them out of all the nations in the world. You made them your very own people. You did it just as you had announced through your servant Moses. That’s when you brought out of Egypt our people of long ago. You are our Lord and King.”
Solomon finished praying. He finished asking the Lord to help his people. Then he got up from in front of the Lord’s altar. He had been down on his knees with his hands spread out toward heaven. He stood in front of the whole community of Israel. He blessed them with a loud voice. He said,
“I praise the Lord. He has given peace and rest to his people Israel. That’s exactly what he promised to do. He gave his people good promises through his servant Moses. Every single word of those promises has come true. May the Lord our God be with us, just as he was with our people who lived long ago. May he never leave us. May he never desert us. May he turn our hearts to him. Then we will live the way he wants us to. We’ll obey the commands, rules and directions he gave our people of long ago. I’ve prayed these words to the Lord our God. May he keep them close to him day and night. May he stand up for me. May he also stand up for his people Israel. May he give us what we need every day. Then all the nations on earth will know that the Lord is God. They’ll know that there isn’t any other god. And may you commit your lives completely to the Lord our God. May you live by his rules. May you obey his commands. May you always do as you are doing now.”
The Temple Is Set Apart to the Lord
Then the king and the whole community of Israel offered sacrifices to the Lord. Solomon sacrificed friendship offerings to the Lord. He sacrificed 22,000 oxen. He also sacrificed 120,000 sheep and goats. So the king and the whole community set the temple of the Lord apart to him.
On that same day the king set the middle area of the courtyard apart to the Lord. It was in front of the Lord’s temple. There Solomon sacrificed burnt offerings and grain offerings. He also sacrificed the fat of the friendship offerings there. He did it there because the bronze altar that stood in front of the Lord was too small. It wasn’t big enough to hold all the burnt offerings, the grain offerings and the fat of the friendship offerings.
At that time Solomon celebrated the Feast of Booths. The whole community of Israel was with him. It was a huge crowd. People came from as far away as Lebo Hamath and the Wadi of Egypt. For seven days they celebrated in front of the Lord our God. The feast continued for seven more days. That made a total of 14 days. On the following day Solomon sent the people away. They asked the Lord to bless the king. Then they went home. The people were glad. Their hearts were full of joy. That’s because the Lord had done so many good things for his servant David and his people Israel.
1 Kings 9:1-9
The Lord Appears to Solomon
Solomon finished building the Lord’s temple and the royal palace. He had accomplished everything he had planned to do. The Lord appeared to him a second time. He had already appeared to him at Gibeon. The Lord said to him,
“I have heard you pray to me. I have heard you ask me to help you. You have built this temple. I have set it apart for myself. My Name will be there forever. My eyes and my heart will always be there.
“But you must walk faithfully with me, just as your father David did. Your heart must be honest. It must be without blame. Do everything I command you to do. Obey my rules and laws. Then I will set up your royal throne over Israel forever. I promised your father David I would do that. I said to him, ‘You will always have a son from your family line on the throne of Israel.’
“But suppose all of you turn away from me. Or your children turn away from me. You refuse to obey the commands and rules I have given you. And you go off to serve other gods and worship them. Then I will remove Israel from the land. It is the land I gave them. I will turn my back on this temple. I will do it even though I have set it apart for my Name to be there. Then Israel will be hated by all the nations. They will laugh and joke about Israel. This temple will become a pile of stones. All those who pass by it will be shocked. They will make fun of it. And they will say, ‘Why has the Lord done a thing like this to this land and temple?’ People will answer, ‘Because they have deserted the Lord their God. He brought out of Egypt their people of long ago. But they have been holding on to other gods. They’ve been worshiping them. They’ve been serving them. That’s why the Lord has brought all this horrible trouble on them.’ ”