Then Solomon said, "Lord, you have said you would live in a dark cloud.
I've built a beautiful temple for you. You can live in it forever."
The whole community of Israel was standing there. The king turned around and gave them his blessing.
Then he said, "I praise the Lord. He is the God of Israel. With his mouth he made a promise to my father David. With his powerful hands he made it come true. He said,
'I brought my people out of Egypt. Ever since I did that, I have not chosen a city in any tribe of Israel where a temple could be built for my Name. I have not chosen anyone to be the leader over my people Israel.
But now I have chosen Jerusalem. I will put my Name there. And I have chosen David to rule over my people Israel.'
"With all his heart my father David wanted to build a temple. He wanted to do it so the Name of the LORD could be there. The LORD is the God of Israel.
"But the LORD spoke to my father David. He said, 'With all your heart you wanted to build a temple for my Name. It is good that you wanted to do that.
But you will not build the temple. Instead, your son will build the temple for my Name. He is your own flesh and blood.'
"The LORD has kept the promise he made. I've become the next king after my father David. Now I'm sitting on the throne of Israel. That's exactly what the LORD promised would happen. I've built the temple for the Name of the Lord. He is the God of Israel.
I've placed the ark there. The tablets of the LORD's covenant are inside it. He made that covenant with the people of Israel."
Then Solomon stood in front of the LORD's altar. He stood in front of the whole community of Israel. He spread out his hands to pray.
He had made a bronze stage. It was seven and a half feet long and seven and a half feet wide. It was four and a half feet high. He had placed it in the center of the outer courtyard. He stood on the stage. Then he got down on his knees in front of the whole community of Israel. He spread out his hands toward heaven.
He said, "Lord, you are the God of Israel. There is no God like you in heaven or on earth. You keep the covenant you made with us. You show us your love. You do that when we follow you with all our hearts.
You have kept your promise to my father David. He was your servant. With your mouth you made a promise. With your powerful hand you have made it come true. And today we can see it.
"Lord, you are the God of Israel. Keep the promises you made to my father David. Do it for him. He was your servant. You said to him, 'You will always have a son to sit on the throne of Israel in my sight. That will be true only if your sons are careful in everything they do. They must live the way my law tells them to. That is the way you have lived.'
Lord, you are the God of Israel. So let your promise to your servant David come true.
"But will you really live on earth with human beings? After all, the heavens can't hold you. In fact, even the highest heavens can't hold you. So this temple I've built certainly can't hold you!
"But please pay attention to my prayer. LORD my God, show me your favor as I make my appeal to you. Listen to my cry for help. Hear the prayer I'm praying to you.
Let your eyes look toward this temple day and night. You said you would put your Name here. Listen to the prayer I'm praying toward this place.
"Hear me when I ask you to show us your favor. Listen to your people Israel when they pray toward this place. Listen to us from heaven. It's the place where you live. When you hear us, forgive us.
"Suppose a man does something wrong to his neighbor. And he is required to take an oath and make a promise. He must come and do it in front of your altar in this temple.
When he does, listen to him from heaven. Take action. Judge between the man and his neighbor. Pay back the one who is guilty. Do to him what he has done to the other person. Tell everyone that the person who hasn't done anything wrong is free of blame. That will prove he isn't guilty.
"Suppose your people Israel have lost the battle against their enemies. And suppose they've sinned against you. But they turn back to you and praise your name. They pray to you in this temple. And they ask you to show them your favor.
Then listen to them from heaven. Forgive the sin of your people Israel. Bring them back to the land you gave to them and their people who lived long ago.
"Suppose your people have sinned against you. And because of that, the sky is closed up and there isn't any rain. But your people pray toward this place. They praise you by admitting they've sinned. And they turn away from their sin because you have made them suffer.
Then listen to them from heaven. Forgive the sin of your people Israel. Teach them the right way to live. Send rain on the land you gave them as their share.
"Suppose there isn't enough food in the land. And a plague strikes the land. The hot winds completely dry up our crops. Or locusts or grasshoppers come and eat them up. Or enemies surround one of our cities and get ready to attack it. Or trouble or sickness comes.
But suppose one of your people prays to you. He asks you to show him your favor. He is aware of how much he is suffering. And he spreads out his hands toward this temple to pray.
Then listen to him from heaven. It's the place where you live. Forgive him. Deal with him in keeping with everything he does. You know his heart. In fact, you are the only one who knows every human heart.
"Your people will have respect for you. They will live the way you want them to. They'll live that way as long as they are in the land you gave our people long ago.
"Suppose a stranger who doesn't belong to your people Israel has come from a land far away. He has come because he's heard about your great name. He has heard that you reached out your mighty hand and powerful arm. So he comes and prays toward this temple.
Then listen to him from heaven. It's the place where you live. Do what that stranger asks you to do. "Then all of the nations on earth will know you. They will have respect for you. They'll respect you just as your own people Israel do. They'll know that your Name is in this house I've built.
"Suppose your people go to war against their enemies. It doesn't matter where you send them. And suppose they pray to you toward this city you have chosen. They pray toward the temple I've built for your Name.
Then listen to them from heaven. Listen to their prayer. Listen to them when they ask you to show them your favor. Stand up for them.
"Suppose they sin against you. After all, there isn't anyone who doesn't sin. And suppose you get angry with them. You hand them over to their enemies. They take them as prisoners to another land. It doesn't matter whether it's near or far away.
But suppose your people change their ways in the land where they are held as prisoners. They turn away from their sins. They beg you to help them in the land where they are prisoners. They say, 'We have sinned. We've done what is wrong. We've done what is evil.'
And they turn back to you with all their heart and soul. Suppose it happens in the land where they were taken as prisoners. There they pray toward the land you gave their people long ago. They pray toward the city you have chosen. And they pray toward the temple I've built for your Name.
Then listen to them from heaven. It's the place where you live. Listen to their prayer. Listen to them when they ask you to show them your favor. Stand up for them. Your people have sinned against you. Please forgive them.
"My God, let your eyes see us. Let your ears pay attention to the prayers that are offered in this place.
"LORD God, rise up and come to your resting place. Come in together with the ark. It's the sign of your power. LORD God, may your priests put on salvation as if it were their clothes. May your faithful people be glad because you are so good.
LORD God, don't turn your back on your anointed king. Remember the great love you promised to your servant David."