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The Ark of the Covenant Is Brought into the Temple
1Then King Solomon called for all the leaders of Israel to come to him in Jerusalem. He called for the elders, the heads of the tribes and the leaders of the families. He wanted them to bring the Ark of the Covenant with the Lord from the older part of the city. 2So all the men of Israel came together with King Solomon. This was during a festival in the month of Ethanim. That is the seventh month.
3All of the elders of Israel arrived. Then the priests took up the Ark of the Covenant. 4They carried the Ark of the Covenant of the Lord, the Meeting Tent and the holy things in it. The Levites helped the priests carry these things. 5King Solomon and all the people of Israel gathered before the Ark of the Covenant. They sacrificed so many sheep and cattle no one could count them all. 6Then the priests put the Ark of the Covenant with the Lord in its right place. This was inside the Most Holy Place in the Temple. The Ark of the Covenant was put under the wings of the golden creatures. 7The wings of the creatures were spread out over the place of the Ark of the Covenant. So they covered it and its carrying poles. 8The carrying poles were very long. Anyone standing in the Holy Place in front of the Most Holy Place could see the ends of the poles. But no one could see them from outside the Holy Place. The poles are still there today. 9The only things inside the Ark of the Covenant were two stone tablets.# They were the two tablets on which God wrote the Ten Commandments. Moses had put them in the Ark of the Covenant at Mount Sinai. That was where the Lord made his agreement with the Israelites after they came out of Egypt.
10When the priests left the Holy Place, the cloud filled the Temple of the Lord. 11The priests could not continue their work. This was because the Temple was filled with the glory of the Lord.
Solomon Speaks to the People
12Then Solomon said, “The Lord said he would live in a dark cloud. 13Lord, I have truly built a wonderful Temple for you. It is a place for you to live forever.”
14While all the people of Israel were standing there, King Solomon turned to them and blessed them.
15Then he prayed: “Praise the Lord, the God of Israel. He himself has done what he promised to my father David. The Lord told my father, 16‘I brought my people Israel out of Egypt. But I have not yet chosen a city in any tribe of Israel where a temple will be built for worshiping me. But I have chosen David to rule over my people Israel.’
17“My father David wanted to build a temple for worshiping the Lord, the God of Israel. 18But the Lord said to my father David, ‘I know you want to build a temple for worshiping me. And this is good. 19But you are not the one to build the temple. It will be your son, who comes from your own body. He is the one who will build my temple.’
20“So the Lord has kept the promise that he gave. I am the king now in place of David my father. Now I rule Israel as the Lord promised. And I have built the Temple for worshiping the Lord, the God of Israel. 21I have made a place in the Temple for the Ark of the Covenant. Inside that Ark is the agreement the Lord made with our ancestors. He made that agreement when he brought them out of Egypt.”
Solomon’s Prayer
22Then Solomon stood facing the Lord’s altar. All of the people of Israel were standing behind him. He spread out his hands and looked toward the sky. 23He said:
“Lord, God of Israel, there is no god like you. There is no god like you in heaven above or on the earth below. You make agreements with your people because you love them. And you keep your agreements with those who truly follow you. 24You have kept the promise you made to your servant David, my father. You made that promise with your own mouth. And with your great power you have made it come true today. 25Now Lord, God of Israel, keep the other promises you made to your servant David, my father. You said, ‘Your sons must be careful to obey me as you have obeyed me. If they do this, there will always be someone from your family ruling Israel.’ 26Again, Lord, God of Israel, I ask you. Please continue to keep that promise you made to my father.
27“But, God, can you really live here on the earth? Even the sky and the highest place in heaven cannot contain you. Certainly this house which I have built cannot contain you either. 28But please listen to my prayer and my request. I am your servant, and you are the Lord my God. Hear this prayer I am praying to you today. 29In the past you said, ‘I will be worshiped there.’ So please watch over this Temple night and day. Hear the prayer I pray to you here. 30Hear my prayers and the prayers of your people Israel. Please hear us when we pray facing this place. Hear us from your home in heaven. And when you hear us, forgive us.
31“If a person does something wrong against someone else, he will be brought to the altar in this Temple. If he swears an oath that he is not guilty, 32then hear in heaven. Judge the man. Punish the guilty person for what he has done. And declare that the innocent person is not guilty.
33“Sometimes your people of Israel will sin against you. Because of this their enemies will defeat them. Then the people will come back to you and praise you. They will pray to you in this Temple. 34Please hear them in heaven. Forgive the sins of your people Israel. Allow them to have their land again. This is the land you gave to their ancestors.
35“Sometimes when they sin against you, you will stop the rain from falling on their land. Then they will pray, facing this place. They will praise you. They will stop sinning when you make them suffer. 36When this happens, please hear their prayer in heaven. Then forgive the sins of your servant. And forgive the sins of the people of Israel. Teach them to do what is right. Then please send rain to this land you gave them.
37“At times the land will become so dry that no food will grow. Or, a great sickness will spread among the people. Sometimes all the crops will be destroyed by locusts or grasshoppers. Your people will be attacked in their cities by their enemies. Your people will become sick. 38When any of these things happen, the people will become truly sorry. If anyone of your people Israel spreads his hands in prayer toward this Temple, 39please hear his prayer. Hear it from your home in heaven. Then forgive the people and help them. Only you know what people are really thinking. So judge each person, and do to him what is right. 40Do this so your people will respect you all the time they live in this land. This is the land you gave to our ancestors.
41-42“People who are not Israelites, who come from other lands, will hear about your greatness and power. They will come from far away to pray at this Temple. 43Please hear their prayers from your home in heaven. Please do whatever they ask you. Then people everywhere will know you and respect you, as your people in Israel do. Then everyone will know I built this Temple for worship to you.
44“Sometimes you will command your people to go and fight against their enemies. Then your people will pray to you facing this city which you have chosen. They will pray facing the Temple I have built for your worship. 45When they pray, hear their prayers from your home in heaven. Then help them.
46“Everyone sins. So your people will also sin against you. And you will become angry with your people. You will let their enemies defeat them. Their enemies will make them prisoners and carry them away to their own countries. 47Your people might be sorry for their sins when they are held as prisoners in another country. Perhaps they will be sorry and pray to you in the land where they are held as prisoners. They might say, ‘We have sinned and done wrong.’ 48They may truly turn back to you in the land of their enemies. Perhaps they will pray to you, facing this land you gave their fathers. They may pray to you, facing this city you have chosen. They may face this Temple I have built for your worship. 49If they do, then please hear them from your home in heaven. Hear their prayers and do what is right. 50Forgive your people of all their sins. And forgive them for turning against you. Make those who have taken them as prisoners show them mercy. 51Remember that they are your people. Remember that you brought them out of Egypt. It was as if you pulled them out of a blazing furnace!
52“Please give your attention to my prayers. And please give your attention to the prayers of your people Israel. Listen to their prayers anytime they ask you for help. 53You chose them from all the nations on earth to be your very own people. This is what you promised through Moses your servant. You promised it when you brought our ancestors out of Egypt, Lord God.”
54Solomon prayed this prayer to the Lord. He had been kneeling in front of the altar. And his arms had been raised toward heaven. When Solomon finished praying, he stood up. 55Then, in a loud voice, he blessed all the people of Israel. Solomon said: 56“Praise the Lord! He promised he would give rest to his people Israel. And he has given us rest! The Lord has kept all the good promises he gave through his servant Moses. 57I ask that the Lord our God be with us. May he be with us as he was with our ancestors. May he never leave us. 58May he cause us to turn to him and follow him. May we obey all the laws and commands he gave our ancestors. 59I ask that the Lord our God always remember this prayer. I pray that he will help his servant and his people Israel. I pray he will help us every day as we need it. 60Then all the people of the world will know the Lord is the only true God. 61So you must fully obey the Lord our God. You must follow all his laws and commands. You must continue to obey in the future as you do now.”
Sacrifices Are Offered
62Then King Solomon and all Israel with him offered sacrifices to the Lord. 63Solomon killed 22,000 cattle and 120,000 sheep. These were fellowship offerings. In this way the king and the Israelites showed they had given the Temple to the Lord.
64Also that day King Solomon made the courtyard before the Temple holy. He offered whole burnt sacrifices and grain offerings. He also offered the fat from the fellowship offerings. He had to make these offerings in the courtyard. This was because the bronze altar before the Lord was too small. It could not hold all the offerings.
65So King Solomon and all the people of Israel also celebrated the other festival that came at that time. People came from as far away as Lebo Hamath in the north. And they came from as far as the brook of Egypt in the south. A great many people were there. They ate, drank and rejoiced before the Lord for a total of 14 days. 66On the following day Solomon sent the people home. So they blessed the king and went home. They were happy because of all the good things the Lord had done for his servant David and for his people, Israel.