1 Kings 8

Solomon puts the Covenant Box in the temple

1 Then Solomon told all the leaders of Israel to come to him in Jerusalem. They were all the leaders of the Israelite tribes and families. He wanted them to bring the Lord's Covenant Box from Mount Zion, the City of David, to put it in the temple. 2 So all the Israelite leaders came together to meet with King Solomon. This happened during the Festival of Huts in the seventh month of the year, called Ethanim. 3 When all Israel's leaders had arrived, the priests lifted up the Covenant Box.

8:1Before they built the temple, King David had put the Covenant Box in a tent.

4 The priests and the Levites carried the Lord's Covenant Box, the Tent of Meeting and all the holy things that were in the tent.

5 King Solomon and all the Israelites who were with him walked in front of the Covenant Box. They offered many sheep and bulls as sacrifices. There were more animals than anyone could count.

6 Then the priests brought the Lord's Covenant Box to its proper place in the inside room of the temple. That was the Most Holy Place. They put it under the wings of the cherubs. 7 The wings of the cherubs touched each other above the place where the Covenant Box was. The cherubs covered the Covenant Box and the poles that the Levites used to carry it. 8 The poles were very long. The priests could see their ends from the Holy Place, if they stood in front of the Most Holy Place. But nobody could see the poles from outside the temple. And they are still there today.

9 There was nothing in the Covenant Box, except the two flat stones that Moses had put there at Sinai. That was where the Lord made a covenant with the Israelites after they came out from Egypt.

10 When the priests came out from the Holy Place, a cloud filled the Lord's temple. 11 The priests could not do their work to serve the Lord, because of the cloud. The Lord's bright glory filled his temple.

12 Then Solomon prayed, ‘Lord, you have said that you live in a dark cloud. 13 Now I have built a great temple for you. It is a place where you can live for ever.’

Solomon speaks to his people

14 While all the Israelite people stood there, the king turned round towards them. He prayed that God would bless them. 15 He said, ‘Praise the Lord, Israel's God, as he deserves. He has used his power to do what he promised to do for my father David. 16 He told David, “I brought my people, the Israelites, out from Egypt. From that time, I have not chosen a city in any of Israel's tribes to build a temple where my people would worship me. Now I have chosen David to rule Israel, my people, as king.” 17 My father David wanted very much to build a temple to give honour to the Lord, Israel's God. 18 But the Lord said to my father David, “It was good that you wanted to build a temple to give me honour. 19 But you will not build the temple. Instead, one of your own sons will build it to give honour to me.” 20 Now the Lord has done what he promised to do. I now rule Israel as king on the throne of my father David, as the Lord promised. I have built this temple to give honour to the Lord, Israel's God. 21 I have made a place there for the Covenant Box. It contains the covenant that the Lord made with our ancestors when he brought them out of Egypt.’

Solomon prays in the temple

22 Then Solomon stood in front of the Lord's altar. All the Israelite people who had come together there could see him. He lifted up his hands towards the sky. 23 He prayed,

8:22‘the sky’ or ‘heaven

Lord, Israel's God, there is no God like you, either in heaven above or down here on the earth. You continue to do what you have promised to do for your people. You faithfully love those who want to serve you. 24 You have done what you promised to do for your servant, my father David. You have used your power to finish today everything that you said you would do. 25 Now Lord, Israel's God, there is another promise that you spoke to my father David. I pray that you will do that too. You said to David, “There will always be one of your descendants to rule Israel as my chosen king. But for this to happen, your sons must be careful to serve me well, as you have done.” 26 So now, God of Israel, please cause what you promised to my father, your servant David, to happen.

27 But surely God, you do not live on the earth! The whole sky, or even heaven itself, is too small to contain you! So how can you live in this temple that I have built? 28 But Lord, my God, please listen to my prayer, as I ask you for help. Please answer me, your servant, because I need your help today. 29 Watch over this temple and take care of it day and night. This is the place about which you said, “People will give honour to my name there.” Please answer my prayers when I turn towards this place to pray to you. 30 Hear the prayers of me, your servant, and the prayers of your people, the Israelites. Please answer us when we turn towards this place and we pray to you. Hear us from heaven, the place where you live. And when we pray, forgive us for our sins.

31 Somebody may do a bad thing against another person. Then he may come to this temple and stand in front of your altar. He may say to you that he is not guilty of any wrong thing. 32 Then listen from heaven to what these people are saying. Decide who is right. Punish the guilty person as he deserves. Show clearly that the other person is right, because he has not done any wrong thing.

33 Perhaps an enemy will win against your people, the Israelites, because we have not obeyed you. But then your people may turn back to you and worship you. They may come into this temple and pray that you will help them. 34 If they do that, please hear them from heaven! Please forgive the sins of your people, the Israelites. Please bring them back to the land that you gave to their ancestors.

35 Sometimes, there may be no rain from the sky because your people have not obeyed you. Then they may turn towards this place and pray to you. They may give honour to your name and turn away from their sins, because you have punished them. 36 If they do that, please hear them from heaven! Please forgive the sins of your servants, your people, the Israelites. Teach them to live in the right way. And please send rain onto this land that you gave to your people to belong to them for ever.

37 Sometimes, there may be other troubles in our land. There may be a famine or a bad disease. Our crops may not grow and our animals may be ill. Locusts may destroy our crops. An enemy may attack some cities in our land. Or there may be other kinds of disease or trouble. 38 Then, some of your people may pray to you and ask you for help. If someone is sad and upset, he may turn towards this temple and lift up his hands in prayer. 39 If someone does that, please hear him from your home in heaven. Please forgive the sins of your people and help them. Only you know what people are thinking. So please give to each person as they deserve. 40 Then your people will respect and obey you as they live in this land that you gave to our ancestors.

41 Foreigners, who do not belong to your people, the Israelites, will hear how great you are. Then they will come here from other countries far away. 42 They will hear about you and your power to do great things. Then they will turn towards this temple and pray to you. 43 When that happens, please hear them from your home in heaven. Please answer all the prayers of these foreign people. Then people from all the nations in the world will realize how great you are. They also will respect you and obey you, as your own people do. They will understand that this temple that I have built belongs to you.

44 Sometimes, your people will go to fight against their enemies at the place where you have sent them. Then they may turn towards this city and pray to the Lord. This is the city that you have chosen for me to build the temple to give you honour. 45 When they pray to you, please hear them from your home in heaven. Do what is right to help them win against their enemies.

46 There is nobody who never does a wrong thing. So when your people do not obey you, you will be angry with them. You will put them under the power of their enemies. Those enemies will take them as prisoners to their own country. Perhaps it will be a country that is far away. Perhaps it will be near. 47 Then your people may think about the bad things that they have done. While they are prisoners in their enemy's country, they may be sorry about their sins. They may pray to you and ask you to forgive them. They may say, “We have turned away from God and we have done wicked things.” 48 In the country where they are prisoners, they may turn back to you and worship you truly. They may turn towards this land that you gave to their ancestors. They may pray to you as they look towards this city that you have chosen. They may look towards the temple that I have built to give you honour. 49 If they do that, please hear them from your home in heaven. Please answer their prayers and do what is right to help them.

50 Please forgive your people for all the sins that they have done against you. Please cause their enemies to be kind to them. 51 Remember that they are your special people who belong to you. You brought them out of Egypt where they were like prisoners in a very hot oven.

52 I pray that you will carefully watch over me, your servant. Please answer my prayers and the prayers of your people, the Israelites. Whenever we pray to you, please listen to us. 53 From all the nations of the world you chose Israel to belong to you as your special people. Almighty Lord, this is what you promised to your servant Moses when you brought our ancestors out of Egypt.’

54 So Solomon finished all his prayers and everything that he wanted to ask the Lord for. He had been down on his knees with his hands lifted up towards the sky in front of the Lord's altar. Now he stood up. 55 When he stood up, he asked God to bless all the people in Israel. He said with a loud voice, 56 ‘Praise the Lord as he deserves! He has given his people, the Israelites, a safe place to live, as he has promised to do. Every great promise that the Lord gave to his servant Moses has now happened! 57 I pray that the Lord our God will be with us, as he was with our ancestors. I pray that he will never leave us or turn away from us. 58 I pray that the Lord will cause us to respect his authority. Then we will do what he wants us to do. We will obey all his commands, rules and laws that he gave to our ancestors. 59 I pray that the Lord our God will continue to remember these words that I have prayed. May he keep them in his thoughts. I pray that he will do what is right to help me and his people, the Israelites. May he give us the help that we need each day. 60 Then all the nations of the earth will understand that the Lord is the only true God. There is no other God. 61 I pray that you will continue to serve the Lord our God faithfully. You must continue to obey his rules and his commands, as you do now.’

Solomon offers the temple as a gift to God

62 Then the king and all the Israelite people who were with him offered sacrifices to the Lord.

63 These are the friendship offerings that Solomon offered to the Lord:

  • 22,000 cows.
  • 120,000 sheep and goats.
  • In this way, King Solomon and all the Israelite people offered the temple as a gift to the Lord.

    64 On the same day, the king gave to the Lord the yard that was in front of the temple. King Solomon offered burnt offerings and grain offerings to the Lord. He also offered the fat from the friendship offerings. The bronze altar in front of the temple was too small to contain all these offerings. So Solomon made these sacrifices in the middle of the yard instead. 65 At that time, Solomon and the big crowd of Israelites who were with him had a festival for seven days. They gave honour to the Lord our God. There were people from everywhere in Israel, from Hamath in the north to the Stream of Egypt in the south. 66 The day after the festival, Solomon sent the people away to their homes. They thanked God for the king and were very happy. They were full of joy because the Lord had done many good things for his servant David and for his people, the Israelites.

    8:64See Leviticus 1-3.
    8:65‘seven days’ or ‘14 days’. After seven days for the sacrifices for the temple, the Festival of Huts may have continued for another seven days.