When all the work Solomon had done for the temple of the LORD was finished, he brought in the things his father David had dedicated--the silver and gold and all the furnishings--and he placed them in the treasuries of God's temple.
Then Solomon summoned to Jerusalem the elders of Israel, all the heads of the tribes and the chiefs of the Israelite families, to bring up the ark of the LORD's covenant from Zion, the City of David.
And all the men of Israel came together to the king at the time of the festival in the seventh month.
When all the elders of Israel had arrived, the Levites took up the ark,
and they brought up the ark and the Tent of Meeting and all the sacred furnishings in it. The priests, who were Levites, carried them up;
and King Solomon and the entire assembly of Israel that had gathered about him were before the ark, sacrificing so many sheep and cattle that they could not be recorded or counted.
The priests then brought the ark of the LORD's covenant to its place in the inner sanctuary of the temple, the Most Holy Place, and put it beneath the wings of the cherubim.
The cherubim spread their wings over the place of the ark and covered the ark and its carrying poles.
These poles were so long that their ends, extending from the ark, could be seen from in front of the inner sanctuary, but not from outside the Holy Place; and they are still there today.
There was nothing in the ark except the two tablets that Moses had placed in it at Horeb, where the LORD made a covenant with the Israelites after they came out of Egypt.
The priests then withdrew from the Holy Place. All the priests who were there had consecrated themselves, regardless of their divisions.
All the Levites who were musicians--Asaph, Heman, Jeduthun and their sons and relatives--stood on the east side of the altar, dressed in fine linen and playing cymbals, harps and lyres. They were accompanied by 120 priests sounding trumpets.
The trumpeters and singers joined in unison, as with one voice, to give praise and thanks to the LORD. Accompanied by trumpets, cymbals and other instruments, they raised their voices in praise to the LORD and sang: "He is good; his love endures forever." Then the temple of the LORD was filled with a cloud,
and the priests could not perform their service because of the cloud, for the glory of the LORD filled the temple of God.
Then Solomon said, "The LORD has said that he would dwell in a dark cloud;
I have built a magnificent temple for you, a place for you to dwell forever."
While the whole assembly of Israel was standing there, the king turned around and blessed them.
Then he said: "Praise be to the LORD, the God of Israel, who with his hands has fulfilled what he promised with his mouth to my father David. For he said,
'Since the day I brought my people out of Egypt, I have not chosen a city in any tribe of Israel to have a temple built for my Name to be there, nor have I chosen anyone to be the leader over my people Israel.
But now I have chosen Jerusalem for my Name to be there, and I have chosen David to rule my people Israel.'
"My father David had it in his heart to build a temple for the Name of the LORD, the God of Israel.
But the LORD said to my father David, 'Because it was in your heart to build a temple for my Name, you did well to have this in your heart.
Nevertheless, you are not the one to build the temple, but your son, who is your own flesh and blood--he is the one who will build the temple for my Name.'
"The LORD has kept the promise he made. I have succeeded David my father and now I sit on the throne of Israel, just as the LORD promised, and I have built the temple for the Name of the LORD, the God of Israel.
There I have placed the ark, in which is the covenant of the LORD that he made with the people of Israel."
Then Solomon stood before the altar of the LORD in front of the whole assembly of Israel and spread out his hands.
Now he had made a bronze platform, five cubits long, five cubits wide and three cubits high, and had placed it in the center of the outer court. He stood on the platform and then knelt down before the whole assembly of Israel and spread out his hands toward heaven.
He said: "O LORD, God of Israel, there is no God like you in heaven or on earth--you who keep your covenant of love with your servants who continue wholeheartedly in your way.
You have kept your promise to your servant David my father; with your mouth you have promised and with your hand you have fulfilled it--as it is today.
"Now LORD, God of Israel, keep for your servant David my father the promises you made to him when you said, 'You shall never fail to have a man to sit before me on the throne of Israel, if only your sons are careful in all they do to walk before me according to my law, as you have done.'
And now, O LORD, God of Israel, let your word that you promised your servant David come true.
"But will God really dwell on earth with men? The heavens, even the highest heavens, cannot contain you. How much less this temple I have built!
Yet give attention to your servant's prayer and his plea for mercy, O LORD my God. Hear the cry and the prayer that your servant is praying in your presence.
May your eyes be open toward this temple day and night, this place of which you said you would put your Name there. May you hear the prayer your servant prays toward this place.
Hear the supplications of your servant and of your people Israel when they pray toward this place. Hear from heaven, your dwelling place; and when you hear, forgive.
"When a man wrongs his neighbor and is required to take an oath and he comes and swears the oath before your altar in this temple,
then hear from heaven and act. Judge between your servants, repaying the guilty by bringing down on his own head what he has done. Declare the innocent not guilty and so establish his innocence.
"When your people Israel have been defeated by an enemy because they have sinned against you and when they turn back and confess your name, praying and making supplication before you in this temple,
then hear from heaven and forgive the sin of your people Israel and bring them back to the land you gave to them and their fathers.
"When the heavens are shut up and there is no rain because your people have sinned against you, and when they pray toward this place and confess your name and turn from their sin because you have afflicted them,
then hear from heaven and forgive the sin of your servants, your people Israel. Teach them the right way to live, and send rain on the land you gave your people for an inheritance.
"When famine or plague comes to the land, or blight or mildew, locusts or grasshoppers, or when enemies besiege them in any of their cities, whatever disaster or disease may come,
and when a prayer or plea is made by any of your people Israel--each one aware of his afflictions and pains, and spreading out his hands toward this temple--
then hear from heaven, your dwelling place. Forgive, and deal with each man according to all he does, since you know his heart (for you alone know the hearts of men),
so that they will fear you and walk in your ways all the time they live in the land you gave our fathers.
"As for the foreigner who does not belong to your people Israel but has come from a distant land because of your great name and your mighty hand and your outstretched arm--when he comes and prays toward this temple,
then hear from heaven, your dwelling place, and do whatever the foreigner asks of you, so that all the peoples of the earth may know your name and fear you, as do your own people Israel, and may know that this house I have built bears your Name.
"When your people go to war against their enemies, wherever you send them, and when they pray to you toward this city you have chosen and the temple I have built for your Name,
then hear from heaven their prayer and their plea, and uphold their cause.
"When they sin against you--for there is no one who does not sin--and you become angry with them and give them over to the enemy, who takes them captive to a land far away or near;
and if they have a change of heart in the land where they are held captive, and repent and plead with you in the land of their captivity and say, 'We have sinned, we have done wrong and acted wickedly';
and if they turn back to you with all their heart and soul in the land of their captivity where they were taken, and pray toward the land you gave their fathers, toward the city you have chosen and toward the temple I have built for your Name;
then from heaven, your dwelling place, hear their prayer and their pleas, and uphold their cause. And forgive your people, who have sinned against you.
"Now, my God, may your eyes be open and your ears attentive to the prayers offered in this place.
"Now arise, O LORD God, and come to your resting place, you and the ark of your might. May your priests, O LORD God, be clothed with salvation, may your saints rejoice in your goodness.
O LORD God, do not reject your anointed one. Remember the great love promised to David your servant."
When Solomon finished praying, fire came down from heaven and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices, and the glory of the LORD filled the temple.
The priests could not enter the temple of the LORD because the glory of the LORD filled it.
When all the Israelites saw the fire coming down and the glory of the LORD above the temple, they knelt on the pavement with their faces to the ground, and they worshiped and gave thanks to the LORD, saying, "He is good; his love endures forever."
Then the king and all the people offered sacrifices before the LORD.
And King Solomon offered a sacrifice of twenty-two thousand head of cattle and a hundred and twenty thousand sheep and goats. So the king and all the people dedicated the temple of God.
The priests took their positions, as did the Levites with the LORD's musical instruments, which King David had made for praising the LORD and which were used when he gave thanks, saying, "His love endures forever." Opposite the Levites, the priests blew their trumpets, and all the Israelites were standing.
Solomon consecrated the middle part of the courtyard in front of the temple of the LORD, and there he offered burnt offerings and the fat of the fellowship offerings, because the bronze altar he had made could not hold the burnt offerings, the grain offerings and the fat portions.
So Solomon observed the festival at that time for seven days, and all Israel with him--a vast assembly, people from Lebo Hamath to the Wadi of Egypt.
On the eighth day they held an assembly, for they had celebrated the dedication of the altar for seven days and the festival for seven days more.
On the twenty-third day of the seventh month he sent the people to their homes, joyful and glad in heart for the good things the LORD had done for David and Solomon and for his people Israel.
When Solomon had finished the temple of the LORD and the royal palace, and had succeeded in carrying out all he had in mind to do in the temple of the LORD and in his own palace,
the LORD appeared to him at night and said: "I have heard your prayer and have chosen this place for myself as a temple for sacrifices.
"When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command locusts to devour the land or send a plague among my people,
if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.
Now my eyes will be open and my ears attentive to the prayers offered in this place.
I have chosen and consecrated this temple so that my Name may be there forever. My eyes and my heart will always be there.
"As for you, if you walk before me as David your father did, and do all I command, and observe my decrees and laws,
I will establish your royal throne, as I covenanted with David your father when I said, 'You shall never fail to have a man to rule over Israel.'
"But if you turn away and forsake the decrees and commands I have given you and go off to serve other gods and worship them,
then I will uproot Israel from my land, which I have given them, and will reject this temple I have consecrated for my Name. I will make it a byword and an object of ridicule among all peoples.
And though this temple is now so imposing, all who pass by will be appalled and say, 'Why has the LORD done such a thing to this land and to this temple?'
People will answer, 'Because they have forsaken the LORD, the God of their fathers, who brought them out of Egypt, and have embraced other gods, worshiping and serving them--that is why he brought all this disaster on them.' "