Solomon Sets the Temple Apart to the Lord
1Solomon finished praying. Then fire came down from heaven. It burned up the burnt offering and the sacrifices. The glory of the Lord filled the temple. 2The priests couldn't enter the temple of the Lord. His glory filled it.
3All of the people of Israel saw the fire coming down. They saw the glory of the Lord above the temple. So they got down on their knees in the courtyard with their faces toward the ground. They worshiped the Lord. They gave thanks to him. They said, "He is good.
His faithful love continues forever."
4Then the king and all of the people offered sacrifices to the Lord. 5King Solomon sacrificed 22,000 head of cattle and 120,000 sheep and goats. So the king and all of the people set the temple of God apart.
6The priests and Levites took their positions. The Levites played the Lord's musical instruments. King David had made them for praising the Lord. They were used when he gave thanks to the Lord. He said, "His faithful love continues forever."
Across from where the Levites were, the priests blew their trumpets. All of the people of Israel were standing.
7Solomon 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. He also sacrificed the fat of the friendship offerings there. He did it there because the bronze altar he had made couldn't hold all of the burnt offerings, the grain offerings and the fat parts.
8At that time Solomon celebrated the Feast of Booths for seven days. 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. 9On the eighth day they held a service. For seven days they had celebrated by setting the altar apart to honor God. The feast continued for seven more days.
10Then Solomon sent the people home. It was the 23rd day of the seventh month. The people were glad. Their hearts were full of joy. That's because the Lord had done good things for David and Solomon and his people Israel.
The Lord Appears to Solomon
11Solomon finished the Lord's temple and the royal palace. He had done everything he had planned to do in the Lord's temple and his own palace.
12The Lord appeared to him at night. He said, "I have heard your prayer. I have chosen this place for myself. It is a temple where sacrifices will be offered.
13"Suppose I close up the sky and there isn't any rain. Suppose I command locusts to eat up the crops. And I send a plague among my people. 14But they make themselves low in my sight. They pray and look to me. And they turn from their evil ways. Then I will listen to them from heaven. I will forgive their sin. And I will heal their land. After all, they are my people.
15"Now my eyes will see them. My ears will pay attention to the prayers they offer in this place. 16I have chosen this temple. I have set it apart for myself. My Name will be there forever. My eyes and my heart will always be there.
17"But you must walk with me, just as your father David did. Do everything I command you to do. Obey my rules and laws. 18Then I will set up your royal throne. I made a covenant with your father David to do that. I said to him, 'You will always have a son to rule over Israel.'
19"But suppose all of you turn away from me. You refuse to obey the rules and commands I have given you. And you go off to serve other gods and worship them. 20Then I will remove Israel from my 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. I will make all of the nations hate it. They will laugh and joke about it.
21"This temple is now so grand and beautiful. But the time is coming when all those who pass by it will be shocked. They will say, 'Why has the Lord done a thing like this to this land and temple?'
22"People will answer, 'Because they have deserted the Lord. He is the God of their people who lived long ago. He brought them out of Egypt. But they have been holding on to other gods. They've been worshiping them. They've been serving them. That's why he has brought all of this horrible trouble on them.' "
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