1 Kings 8

Solomon brings the Covenant Box into the Temple

1 Then Solomon said that all the leaders of Israel must come to him in Jerusalem. The king wanted all the leaders of the tribes and families of Israel to do this. He wanted them to bring the Covenant Box of the Lord to the temple. The Covenant Box was in David's part of the city, called Zion. 2 So all the men from Israel came together, to King Solomon. It was the seventh month, called Ethanim. There was a festival at this time. 3 When all the leaders of Israel had arrived, the priests lifted up the Covenant Box.

8:1Before they built the temple, the Covenant Box was in a tent. In the tent were the things that they used to sacrifice animals to God. They did this in the yard of God's house, the temple, after they had built it.
8:2A festival was like a big feast outside the temple.

4 Together with the Lord's Covenant Box, they brought:

  • The tent where people met.
  • The holy tools that were in the tent.
  • The priests and the Levites carried them up to the temple.

    5 While they did this, all Israel's people were with King Solomon. They sacrificed sheep and oxen in front of the Covenant Box. There were more than they could count. 6 Then the priests brought the Covenant Box of the Lord to its place. That was the inside the Most Holy Place. They put it under the wings of the cherubs. 7 The wings of the cherubs were over the place where the Covenant Box was. The Covenant Box and the handles to carry it were in the shadow of the cherubs. 8 The handles were very long. The priests could see their ends from the Holy Place outside the Most Holy Place. They could not see them from outside the Holy Place. And they are still there today. 9 There was nothing in the Covenant Box, except the two flat stones. Moses had put them in there at Horeb. That was where the Lord made a covenant with the Israelites. He did that after they came out from Egypt. 10 And when the priests came out from the Holy Place, the cloud filled the Lord's temple. 11 And the priests could not do their work, because of the cloud. Then something like a very bright light filled the Lord's temple to show that the Lord was there.

    8:6Only the leader of the priests went into the Most Holy Place, and that only on one day every year.
    8:6They put the Covenant Box under the cherubs. The cherubs were like pictures that they had made from wood. They were like pictures of God's special angels.

    12 Then Solomon said, ‘The Lord said that he would live in a dark cloud.

    13 I have built a beautiful temple for you. It is a place where you can always live.’

    Solomon speaks to his people

    14 While everybody in Israel stood there, the king turned round. He prayed that God would be good to them. 15 And he said, ‘Praise the Lord, the God of Israel. With his own hand he has done what he promised with his own mouth to do for my father David. This is what God said: 16 “I brought my people Israel out from Egypt. Since then, I have not chosen a city in any tribe of Israel, to build a temple for my Name. But I have chosen David to rule my people Israel.” 17 My father really wanted to build a temple for the Name of the Lord, the God of Israel. 18 But the Lord said to my father, David, “It was good that you really wanted to build a temple for my Name. 19 You will not build the temple. But, instead, your son will build it. He is from your own body and blood. He is the person who will build the temple for my Name.” 20 The Lord has done what he promised to do. I am king after David my father. Now I sit on the throne of Israel. This is what the Lord promised. Also, I have built the temple for the Name of the Lord, the God of Israel. 21 I have made a place there for the Covenant Box. The covenant of the Lord is in the box. He made the covenant with our ancestors, when he brought them out of Egypt.’

    Solomon prays in the temple

    22 Then Solomon stood in front of the altar of the Lord. He was in front of all Israel's people. He lifted up his hands towards the skies.

    8:22The altar was where they sacrificed animals. It was outside the door of the temple.
    8:22We could translate ‘skies’ as ‘heaven’, which is the home of God.

    23 And Solomon said,

    Lord, you are the God of Israel. There is no God like you, either in the skies above us or in the earth beneath the skies. You continue to do what you have promised to do for your servants. Your servants are the people to whom you are always very kind. Your servants continue to obey your words as well as they can. 24 You have done what you promised to do for your servant, my father David. Your mouth spoke the promise. Then your hands did the work, as we see today. 25 Now Lord, God of Israel, there is another promise that you spoke to your servant, my father David. I pray that you will do that too. You said to David, “There will always be a man to sit on my behalf on the throne of Israel. But for this to happen, your sons must always obey me like you did.” 26 So now I pray, God of Israel, “Cause what you promised to your servant, my father David, to happen.”

    8:24The mouth of God means what he said. The hands of God mean his power.
    8:25This verse means that the king would rule on behalf of God in Jerusalem.

    27 But surely God will not really live on the earth! Even heaven, the highest heaven of all the heavens, cannot contain you! How much less will this temple that I have built contain you! 28 But listen while I, your servant, pray to you, my Lord and my God. I am asking you for mercy. Hear me, while I, your servant, am praying to you today. 29 Watch over this temple day and night. This is the place about which you said, “My Name will be there.” You will hear your servant when he prays towards this place. 30 Hear the words of your servant, and of your people Israel, when they pray towards this place. Hear us from the place called heaven, where you live. And when you hear us, then forgive us.

    8:29‘My Name’ really means God Himself. ‘Pray towards’ the temple means pray to God.

    31 Sometimes, a man does something that is wrong to somebody else. The man must come to this temple. He must promise in front of the altar that his words are true. 32 Then, listen from heaven. And say who is right. If the man really has done something wrong, punish him. But if he has not done anything wrong, be good to him.

    33 Perhaps an enemy will win a war against your people, Israel, because Israel has not obeyed you. Your people may then turn back to you. They may do these things:

    say that your name is the name of their God.

    pray to you.

    ask you to forgive them in this temple.

    34 If they do that, hear them from heaven! Forgive the sin of your people, Israel. And bring them back to the land that you gave to their ancestors.

    8:34The word ‘ancestors’ means all the Jews that lived before Solomon.

    35 Sometimes, the skies will become dry and there will be no rain. This will be when your people have not obeyed you. Then, they may do these things:

    pray towards this place.

    say that your name is the name of their God.

    turn from what they have done wrong, because you have hurt them.

    36 If they do that, hear them from heaven. Forgive your servants, your people Israel, for what they have done wrong. Teach them the right things to do. Send rain on to the land, which you gave as a gift to your people.

    37 Sometimes, these things will happen in the country:

    There will not be enough food.

    The animals and plants and people will be ill.

    There will be insects called locusts and grasshoppers.

    8:37Locusts and grasshoppers are insects that eat every green plant.

    There will be an enemy all round one of their cities.

    Illness will hurt people and enemies will kill people.

    38 Then, perhaps, only one person from among all of your people Israel will pray to you. He may feel that his heart hurts inside him. So, he will lift up his hands towards this temple. 39 If he does that, hear him. Hear him from heaven where you live. Forgive the people and do something. Do to each person what should happen to them. Only you can know what everyone is thinking. 40 So, everybody will be afraid of you, while they live in the country. This is the country that you gave to our ancestors.

    41 Strangers, who do not belong to your people Israel, will come far from other countries. They will do this because they will hear about your name. 42 People will hear about your great name and about your strong hand and about the arm that you lift up. The stranger will come and he will pray towards this temple. 43 When this happens, God, hear him from your home in heaven. Do what he asks you to do. So, all the people in the world will know your name. They will be afraid of you, as your own people Israel are. And they will know this. The temple that I have built is for you.

    8:42The name, the hand and the arm are three things about God. Some Christians think that they mean the Father (the name), his Son Jesus (the arm) and the Holy spirit (the hand). Solomon perhaps meant that God was very strong and powerful.
    8:43In verse 43, the Hebrew Bible has, ‘The temple that I have built has your Name’. Our translation says, ‘The temple that I have built is for you.’ Also, in verse 44, we have ‘for you’, but the Hebrew Bible has ‘for your Name’. We have put capital Ns because God's name means God himself.
    8:43Verses 41-43 are important for people who are not Jews. They tell us this: God will answer them too, when they pray.

    44 Sometimes, your people will go to fight against their enemies. They will go to where you send them. And when they pray to the Lord, they will look towards the city Jerusalem. You chose this city. And I built the temple in it for you. 45 When they pray to you, listen to them from your home in heaven. Do what they ask. And give them help.

    46 There is nobody that does not sin against God. When your people sin against you, you will become angry with them. You will give them to their enemies. The enemies will take them to their own country. Perhaps it will be far; perhaps it will be near. Your people will be in the enemy's prisons. 47 Then, they may become sorry that they have sinned. They may change their minds and they may pray to you. They will be in the country of the people who put them into prisons. In that country, they may pray these words: “We have sinned. We have done what is wrong. We have been very bad.” 48 They may turn back to you in the country of their enemies, who put them into prisons. They may want to obey you with all their minds and bodies. They may pray to you. And they will look towards the country that you gave to their ancestors. They will look towards the city that you have chosen. And they will look towards the temple that I have built for your Name. 49 Then hear them from your home in heaven, when they pray to you. Do what they ask you to do. And give help to them. 50 And forgive your people who have sinned against you. Forgive all the wrong things that they have done against you. And cause their enemies to have mercy on them. 51 Do this because they are your people. They belong to you. You brought them out of Egypt. And Egypt was like a very hot fire that could make iron like water.

    52 I pray that your eyes will always be open:

    to what your servant Solomon asks you.

    to what your people, Israel, ask you.

    I hope that you will always listen to them. Do this when they pray to you.

    53 Do this because you chose them from all the countries in the world, to be your own people. This is what you promised to your servant Moses. You did it when you, Lord God, brought our ancestors out of Egypt.’

    54 So Solomon finished praying about everything that he wanted to ask the Lord for. He stood up in front of the altar of the Lord. He had been on his knees with his hands lifted up to the skies. 55 But now he stood up and he asked God to do good things to all the people in Israel. He said with a loud voice, 56 ‘Praise the Lord! He has given rest to his people Israel. This is what he promised to Moses. Every good promise that the Lord gave to his servant Moses has really happened. 57 The Lord our God was with our ancestors. I pray that he will be with us like that. I pray that he will never leave us by ourselves. 58 I pray that the Lord will cause us to love him again. So we will do what he wants us to do. And we will obey everything that he asked our ancestors to do. 59 I have prayed all these words to the Lord. I pray that these words will be near to the Lord our God day and night. I want him to help me in what I do. And I pray that he will help me, his servant. Also, his people, Israel, need his help every day. I pray that he will help them. 60 So, all the people on the earth will know that the Lord is God. And they will know that there is no other God. 61 But you people really must want to be servants of the Lord our God. You must do what he orders you to do. And you must obey his words, as you do now.’

    8:61In the Hebrew Bible, in this verse, ‘you really must want to be servants of the Lord’ is ‘your hearts must belong to the Lord’.

    Solomon offers the temple to God

    62 Then the king, and all Israel's people with him, offered sacrifices to the Lord.

    8:62A sacrifice was an animal that the Jews killed for the Lord. This obeyed his words in Leviticus.

    63 These are the sacrifices that Solomon offered to the Lord:

    22,000 cows

    120,000 sheep and goats.

    Solomon offered these because he and the Lord were friendly. So the king, and all Israel's people, gave the temple to the Lord.

    64 On that same day, the king gave the courtyard in front of the temple to the Lord. There, Solomon offered sacrifices to the Lord. He burned animals and he offered wheat and fat (material from inside animals). The fat was the fellowship sacrifice. The bronze altar was too small to contain all the animals, the wheat and the fat of the friendly sacrifice. So Solomon burned all these things in the courtyard and not on the bronze altar. 65 So Solomon had a festival at that time. Everybody in Israel was there. So, there was a very big crowd. There were people from everywhere from Hamath to the Valley of Egypt. Hamath was in the north and the Valley of Egypt was in the south of Israel. The festival continued in front of the Lord our God for seven days. Then it continued for another seven days. So it was 14 days long. 66 The day after the feast, Solomon sent the people away. They all said good things about the king and then they went home. They were very happy and they felt good inside themselves. This was because the Lord had done so many good things for his servant David and for his people Israel.

    8:64Maybe the courtyard was the one for men only.
    8:64There were 3 kinds of sacrifice. Leviticus chapters 1, 2 and 3 tell us about them. The fat was from inside the animal. It is what we have called the friendly sacrifice. It tells us that God and his people are friends.