The Bible – Old Testament
At the order of Solomon, the elders of Israel and all the leaders of the tribes, the princes in the ancestral houses of the Israelites, came to King Solomon in Jerusalem, to bring up the ark of the LORD’S covenant from the city of David (which is Zion).
All the men of Israel assembled before King Solomon during the festival in the month of Ethanim (the seventh month).
When all the elders of Israel had arrived, the priests took up the ark;
they carried the ark of the LORD and the meeting tent with all the sacred vessels that were in the tent. (The priests and Levites carried them.)
King Solomon and the entire community of Israel present for the occasion sacrificed before the ark sheep and oxen too many to number or count.
1 The priests brought the ark of the covenant of the LORD to its place beneath the wings of the cherubim in the sanctuary, the holy of holies of the temple.
The cherubim had their wings spread out over the place of the ark, sheltering the ark and its poles from above.
The poles were so long that their ends could be seen from that part of the holy place adjoining the sanctuary; however, they could not be seen beyond. (They have remained there to this day.)
There was nothing in the ark but the two stone tablets which Moses had put there at Horeb, when the LORD made a covenant with the Israelites at their departure from the land of Egypt.
When the priests left the holy place, the cloud filled the temple of the LORD
so that the priests could no longer minister because of the cloud, since the LORD’S glory had filled the temple of the LORD.
Then Solomon said, “The LORD intends to dwell in the dark cloud;
I have truly built you a princely house, a dwelling where you may abide forever.”
The king turned and greeted the whole community of Israel as they stood.
He said to them: “Blessed be the LORD, the God of Israel, who with his own mouth made a promise to my father David and by his hand has brought it to fulfillment. It was he who said,
‘Since the day I brought my people Israel out of Egypt, I have not chosen a city out of any tribe of Israel for the building of a temple to my honor; but I choose David to rule my people Israel.’
When my father David wished to build a temple to the honor of the LORD, the God of Israel,
the LORD said to him, ‘In wishing to build a temple to my honor, you do well.
It will not be you, however, who will build the temple; but the son who will spring from you, he shall build the temple to my honor.’
And now the LORD has fulfilled the promise that he made: I have succeeded my father David and sit on the throne of Israel, as the LORD foretold, and I have built this temple to honor the LORD, the God of Israel.
I have provided in it a place for the ark in which is the covenant of the LORD, which he made with our fathers when he brought them out of the land of Egypt.”
Solomon stood before the altar of the LORD in the presence of the whole community of Israel, and stretching forth his hands toward heaven,
he said, “LORD, God of Israel, there is no God like you in heaven above or on earth below; you keep your covenant of kindness with your servants who are faithful to you with their whole heart.
You have kept the promise you made to my father David, your servant. You who spoke that promise, have this day, by your own power, brought it to fulfillment.
Now, therefore, LORD, God of Israel, keep the further promise you made to my father David, your servant, saying, ‘You shall always have someone from your line to sit before me on the throne of Israel, provided only that your descendants look to their conduct so that they live in my presence, as you have lived in my presence.’
Now, LORD, God of Israel, may this promise which you made to my father David, your servant, be confirmed.
“Can it indeed be that God dwells among men on earth? If the heavens and the highest heavens cannot contain you, how much less this temple which I have built!
Look kindly on the prayer and petition of your servant, O LORD, my God, and listen to the cry of supplication which I, your servant, utter before you this day.
May your eyes watch night and day over this temple, the place where you have decreed you shall be honored; may you heed the prayer which I, your servant, offer in this place.
Listen to the petitions of your servant and of your people Israel which they offer in this place. Listen from your heavenly dwelling and grant pardon.
“If a man sins against his neighbor and is required to take an oath sanctioned by a curse, when he comes and takes the oath before your altar in this temple,
listen in heaven; take action and pass judgment on your servants. Condemn the wicked and punish him for his conduct, but acquit the just and establish his innocence.
2 “If your people Israel sin against you and are defeated by an enemy, and if then they return to you, praise your name, pray to you, and entreat you in this temple,
listen in heaven and forgive the sin of your people Israel, and bring them back to the land you gave their fathers.
“If the sky is closed, so that there is no rain, because they have sinned against you and you afflict them, and if then they repent of their sin, and pray, and praise your name in this place,
listen in heaven and forgive the sin of your servant and of your people Israel, teaching them the right way to live and sending rain upon this land of yours which you have given to your people as their heritage.
“If there is famine in the land or pestilence; or if blight comes, or mildew, or a locust swarm, or devouring insects; if an enemy of your people besieges them in one of their cities; whatever plague or sickness there may be,
if then any one (of your entire people Israel) has remorse of conscience and offers some prayer or petition, stretching out his hands toward this temple,
listen from your heavenly dwelling place and forgive. You who alone know the hearts of all men, render to each one of them according to his conduct; knowing their hearts, so treat them
that they may fear you as long as they live on the land you gave our fathers.
“To the foreigner, likewise, who is not of your people Israel, but comes from a distant land to honor you
(since men will learn of your great name and your mighty hand and your outstretched arm), when he comes and prays toward this temple,
listen from your heavenly dwelling. Do all that the foreigner asks of you, that all the peoples of the earth may know your name, may fear you as do your people Israel, and may acknowledge that this temple which I have built is dedicated to your honor.
“Whatever the direction in which you may send your people forth to war against their enemies, if they pray to you, O LORD, toward the city you have chosen and the temple I have built in your honor,
listen in heaven to their prayer and petition, and defend their cause.
“When they sin against you (for there is no man who does not sin), and in your anger against them you deliver them to the enemy, so that their captors deport them to a hostile land, far or near,
may they repent in the land of their captivity and be converted. If then they entreat you in the land of their captors and say, ‘We have sinned and done wrong; we have been wicked’;
if with their whole heart and soul they turn back to you in the land of the enemies who took them captive, pray to you toward the land you gave their fathers, the city you have chosen, and the temple I have built in your honor,
listen from your heavenly dwelling.
Forgive your people their sins and all the offenses they have committed against you, and grant them mercy before their captors, so that these will be merciful to them.
For they are your people and your inheritance, whom you brought out of Egypt, from the midst of an iron furnace.
“Thus may your eyes be open to the petition of your servant and to the petition of your people Israel. Hear them whenever they call upon you,
because you have set them apart among all the peoples of the earth for your inheritance, as you declared through your servant Moses when you brought our fathers out of Egypt, O Lord GOD.”
When Solomon finished offering this entire prayer of petition to the LORD, he rose from before the altar of the LORD, where he had been kneeling with his hands outstretched toward heaven.
He stood and blessed the whole community of Israel, saying in a loud voice:
“Blessed be the LORD who has given rest to his people Israel, just as he promised. Not a single word has gone unfulfilled of the entire generous promise he made through his servant Moses.
May the LORD, our God, be with us as he was with our fathers and may he not forsake us nor cast us off.
May he draw our hearts to himself, that we may follow him in everything and keep the commands, statutes, and ordinances which he enjoined on our fathers.
May this prayer I have offered to the LORD, our God, be present to him day and night, that he may uphold the cause of his servant and of his people Israel as each day requires,
that all the peoples of the earth may know the LORD is God and there is no other.
You must be wholly devoted to the LORD, our God, observing his statutes and keeping his commandments, as on this day.”
The king and all Israel with him offered sacrifices before the LORD.
Solomon offered as peace offerings to the LORD twenty-two thousand oxen and one hundred twenty thousand sheep. Thus the king and all the Israelites dedicated the temple of the LORD.
On that day the king consecrated the middle of the court facing the temple of the LORD; he offered there the holocausts, the cereal offerings, and the fat of the peace offerings, because the bronze altar before the LORD was too small to hold these offerings.
On this occasion Solomon and all the Israelites, who had assembled in large numbers from Labo of Hamath to the Wadi of Egypt, celebrated the festival before the LORD, our God, for seven days.
On the eighth day he dismissed the people, who bade the king farewell and went to their homes, rejoicing and happy over all the blessings the LORD had given to his servant David and to his people Israel.
1 [6-9] The transfer of the ark of the covenant into the newly constructed temple building, and the oracle of God’s acceptance (⇒ 1 Kings 9:3-9), and his act of possession (⇒ 1 Kings 8:10-13), constituted the temple’s solemn dedication, and made of it the abiding dwelling of God among his people for which David had hoped (⇒ 2 Sam 6:12-15; ⇒ 7:1-3). The concurrence of the feast of Booths marks an appropriate transition of God’s dwelling among nomadic tribes to his permanent abode among a settled people.
2 [33-34,46-53] These references to deportation of Israelites to a hostile land are an expansion of Solomon’s prayer dating from the Babylonian exile four centuries later.