Then Solomon assembled the respected leaders of Israel, all the heads of the tribes, and the leaders of the Israelite families. They came to King Solomon in Jerusalem to take the ark of the LORD's promise from the City of David (that is, Zion).
All the people of Israel gathered around King Solomon at the Festival [of Booths] in the month of Ethanim, the seventh month.
When all the leaders of Israel had arrived, the priests picked up the LORD's ark.
They brought the ark, the tent of meeting, and all the holy utensils in it [to the temple]. The priests and the Levites carried them
while King Solomon with the whole assembly from Israel were offering countless sheep and cattle sacrifices in front of the ark.
The priests brought the ark of the LORD's promise to its place in the inner room of the temple (the most holy place) under the wings of the angels.
When the angels' outstretched wings were over the place where the ark [rested], the angels became a covering above the ark and its poles.
The poles were so long that their ends could be seen in the holy place by anyone standing in front of the inner room, but they couldn't be seen outside. (They are still there today.)
There was nothing in the ark except the two stone tablets Moses put there at Horeb, where the LORD made a promise to the Israelites after they left Egypt.
When the priests left the holy place, a cloud filled the LORD's temple.
The priests couldn't serve because of the cloud. The LORD's glory filled his temple.
Then Solomon said, "The LORD said he would live in a dark cloud.
I certainly have built you a high temple, a home for you to live in permanently."
Then the king turned around and blessed the whole assembly of Israel while they were standing.
"Thanks be to the LORD God of Israel. With his mouth he made a promise to my father David; with his hand he carried it out. He said,
'Ever since I brought my people Israel out of Egypt, I didn't choose any city in any of the tribes of Israel as a place to build a temple for my name. But now I've chosen David to rule my people Israel.'
"My father David had his heart set on building a temple for the name of the LORD God of Israel.
However, the LORD said to my father David, 'Since you had your heart set on building a temple for my name, your intentions were good.
But you must not build the temple. Instead, your own son will build the temple for my name.'
The LORD has kept the promise he made. I have taken my father David's place, and I sit on the throne of Israel as the LORD promised. I've built the temple for the name of the LORD God of Israel.
I've made a place there for the ark which contains the LORD's promise that he made to our ancestors when he brought them out of Egypt."
In the presence of the entire assembly of Israel, Solomon stood in front of the LORD's altar. He stretched out his hands toward heaven
and said, "LORD God of Israel, there is no god like you in heaven above or on earth below. You keep your promise of mercy to your servants, who obey you wholeheartedly.
You have kept your promise to my father David, your servant. With your mouth you promised it. With your hand you carried it out as it is today.
"Now, LORD God of Israel, keep your promise to my father David, your servant. You said, 'You will never fail to have an heir sitting in front of me on the throne of Israel if your descendants are faithful to me as you have been faithful to me.'
"So now, God of Israel, may the promise you made to my father David, your servant, come true.
"Does God really live on earth? If heaven itself, the highest heaven, cannot hold you, then how can this temple that I have built?
Nevertheless, my LORD God, please pay attention to my prayer for mercy. Listen to my cry for help as I pray to you today.
Night and day may your eyes be on this temple, the place about which you said, 'My name will be there.' Listen to me as I pray toward this place.
Hear the plea for mercy that your people Israel and I pray toward this place. Hear us [when we pray] to heaven, the place where you live. Hear and forgive.
"If anyone sins against another person and is required to take an oath and comes to take the oath in front of your altar in this temple,
then hear [that person] in heaven, take action, and make a decision. Condemn the guilty person with the proper punishment, but declare the innocent person innocent.
"An enemy may defeat your people Israel because they have sinned against you. But when your people turn to you, praise your name, pray, and plead with you in this temple,
then hear [them] in heaven, forgive the sins of your people Israel, and bring them back to the land that you gave to their ancestors.
"When the sky is shut and there's no rain because they are sinning against you, and they pray toward this place, praise your name, and turn away from their sin because you made them suffer,
then hear [them] in heaven. Forgive the sins of your servants, your people Israel. Teach them the proper way to live. Then send rain on the land, which you gave to your people as an inheritance.
"There may be famine in the land. Plant diseases, heat waves, funguses, locusts, or grasshoppers may destroy crops. Enemies may blockade Israel's city gates. During every plague or sickness
[hear] every prayer for mercy, made by one person or by all the people in Israel, whose consciences bother them, who stretch out their hands toward this temple.
Hear [them] in heaven, where you live. Forgive [them], and take action. Give each person the proper reply. (You know what is in their hearts, because you alone know what is in the hearts of all people.)
Then, as long as they live in the land that you gave to our ancestors, they will fear you.
"People will hear about your great name, mighty hand, and powerful arm. So when people who are not Israelites come from distant countries because of your name
to pray facing this temple,
hear [them] in heaven, the place where you live. Do everything they ask you so that all the people of the world may know your name and fear you like your people Israel and learn also that this temple which I built bears your name.
"When your people go to war against their enemies (wherever you may send them) and they pray to you, O LORD, toward the city you have chosen and the temple I built for your name,
then hear their prayer for mercy in heaven, and do what is right [for them].
"They may sin against you. (No one is sinless.) You may become angry with them and hand them over to an enemy who takes them to [another] country as captives, [whether it is] far or near.
If they come to their senses, are sorry for what they've done, and plead with you in the land where they are captives, saying, 'We have sinned. We have done wrong. We have been wicked,'
if they change their attitude toward you in the land of their enemies where they are captives, if they pray to you toward the land that you gave their ancestors, and the city you have chosen, and the temple I have built for your name,
then in heaven, the place where you live, hear their prayer for mercy. Do what is right for them.
Forgive your people, who have sinned against you. [Forgive] all their wrongs when they rebelled against you, and cause those who captured them to have mercy on them
because they are your own people whom you brought out of Egypt from the middle of an iron smelter.
"May your eyes always see my plea and your people Israel's plea so that you will listen to them whenever they call on you.
After all, you, LORD God, set them apart from all the people of the world to be your own as you promised through your servant Moses when you brought our ancestors out of Egypt."
When Solomon finished praying this prayer for mercy to the LORD, he stood in front of the LORD's altar, where he had been kneeling with his hands stretched out toward heaven.
Then he stood and in a loud voice blessed the entire assembly of Israel,
"Thanks be to the LORD! He has given his people Israel rest, as he had promised. None of the good promises he made through his servant Moses has failed to come true.
May the LORD our God be with us as he was with our ancestors. May he never leave us or abandon us.
May he bend our hearts toward him. Then we will follow him and keep his commands, laws, and rules, which he commanded our ancestors [to keep].
May these words which I have prayed to the LORD be near the LORD our God day and night. Then he will give me and his people Israel justice every day as it is needed.
In this way all the people of the world will know that the LORD is God and there is no other [god].
May your hearts be committed to the LORD our God. Then you will live by his laws and keep his commands as you have today."
Then the king and all Israel offered sacrifices to the LORD.
Solomon sacrificed 22,000 cattle and 120,000 sheep as fellowship offerings to the LORD. So the king and all the people of Israel dedicated the LORD's temple.
On that day the king designated the courtyard in front of the LORD's temple as a holy place. He sacrificed the burnt offerings, grain offerings, and the fat from the fellowship offerings because the bronze altar in front of the LORD was too small to hold all of them.
At that time Solomon and all Israel celebrated the Festival [of Booths]. A large crowd had come from [the territory between] the border of Hamath and the River of Egypt to be near the LORD our God for seven days.
On the eighth day he dismissed the people. They blessed the king and went to their tents. They rejoiced with cheerful hearts for all the blessings the LORD had given his servant David and his people Israel.