Now the Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread were only two days away, and the chief priests and the teachers of the law were looking for some sly way to arrest Jesus and kill him.
"But not during the Feast," they said, "or the people may riot."
While he was in Bethany, reclining at the table in the home of a man known as Simon the Leper, a woman came with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, made of pure nard. She broke the jar and poured the perfume on his head.
Some of those present were saying indignantly to one another, "Why this waste of perfume?
It could have been sold for more than a year's wages and the money given to the poor." And they rebuked her harshly.
6"Leave her alone," said Jesus. "Why are you bothering her? She has done a beautiful thing to me.7The poor you will always have with you, and you can help them any time you want. But you will not always have me.8She did what she could. She poured perfume on my body beforehand to prepare for my burial.9I tell you the truth, wherever the gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her."10
Then Judas Iscariot, one of the Twelve, went to the chief priests to betray Jesus to them.
They were delighted to hear this and promised to give him money. So he watched for an opportunity to hand him over.
On the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, when it was customary to sacrifice the Passover lamb, Jesus' disciples asked him, "Where do you want us to go and make preparations for you to eat the Passover?"
So he sent two of his disciples, telling them, "Go into the city, and a man carrying a jar of water will meet you. Follow him.14Say to the owner of the house he enters, 'The Teacher asks: Where is my guest room, where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?'15He will show you a large upper room, furnished and ready. Make preparations for us there."16
The disciples left, went into the city and found things just as Jesus had told them. So they prepared the Passover.
When evening came, Jesus arrived with the Twelve.
While they were reclining at the table eating, he said, "I tell you the truth, one of you will betray me--one who is eating with me."19
They were saddened, and one by one they said to him, "Surely not I?"
20"It is one of the Twelve," he replied, "one who dips bread into the bowl with me.21The Son of Man will go just as it is written about him. But woe to that man who betrays the Son of Man! It would be better for him if he had not been born."22
While they were eating, Jesus took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to his disciples, saying, "Take it; this is my body."23
Then he took the cup, gave thanks and offered it to them, and they all drank from it.
24"This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many," he said to them.
25"I tell you the truth, I will not drink again of the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it anew in the kingdom of God."26
When they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.
27"You will all fall away," Jesus told them, "for it is written: " 'I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered.'28But after I have risen, I will go ahead of you into Galilee."29
Peter declared, "Even if all fall away, I will not."
30"I tell you the truth," Jesus answered, "today--yes, tonight--before the rooster crows twice you yourself will disown me three times."31
But Peter insisted emphatically, "Even if I have to die with you, I will never disown you." And all the others said the same.
Then King Solomon summoned into his presence at 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.
All the men of Israel came together to King Solomon at the time of the festival in the month of Ethanim, the seventh month.
When all the elders of Israel had arrived, the priests took up the ark,
and they brought up the ark of the LORD and the Tent of Meeting and all the sacred furnishings in it. The priests and 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 overshadowed the ark and its carrying poles.
These poles were so long that their ends could be seen from the Holy Place 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 stone tablets that Moses had placed in it at Horeb, where the LORD made a covenant with the Israelites after they came out of Egypt.
When the priests withdrew from the Holy Place, the cloud filled the temple of the LORD.
And the priests could not perform their service because of the cloud, for the glory of the LORD filled his temple.
Then Solomon said, "The LORD has said that he would dwell in a dark cloud;
I have indeed 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 own hand has fulfilled what he promised with his own mouth to my father David. For he said,
'Since the day I brought my people Israel 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, but 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.
I have provided a place there for the ark, in which is the covenant of the LORD that he made with our fathers when he brought them out of Egypt."
Then Solomon stood before the altar of the LORD in front of the whole assembly of Israel, spread out his hands toward heaven
and said: "O LORD, God of Israel, there is no God like you in heaven above or on earth below--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 as you have done.'
And now, O God of Israel, let your word that you promised your servant David my father come true.
"But will God really dwell on earth? The heavens, even the highest heaven, 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 this day.
May your eyes be open toward this temple night and day, this place of which you said, 'My Name shall be there,' so that you will hear the prayer your servant prays toward this place.
Hear the supplication 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, condemning the guilty and 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 to you and confess your name, praying and making supplication to 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 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 an enemy besieges 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 the afflictions of his own heart, and spreading out his hands toward this temple--
then hear from heaven, your dwelling place. Forgive and act; deal with each man according to all he does, since you know his heart (for you alone know the hearts of all men),
so that they will fear you 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 name--
for men will hear 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 the LORD toward the 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 his own 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 conquerors and say, 'We have sinned, we have done wrong, we have acted wickedly';
and if they turn back to you with all their heart and soul in the land of their enemies who took them captive, and pray to you toward the land you gave their fathers, toward the city you have chosen and the temple I have built for your Name;
then from heaven, your dwelling place, hear their prayer and their plea, and uphold their cause.
And forgive your people, who have sinned against you; forgive all the offenses they have committed against you, and cause their conquerors to show them mercy;
for they are your people and your inheritance, whom you brought out of Egypt, out of that iron-smelting furnace.
"May your eyes be open to your servant's plea and to the plea of your people Israel, and may you listen to them whenever they cry out to you.
For you singled them out from all the nations of the world to be your own inheritance, just as you declared through your servant Moses when you, O Sovereign LORD, brought our fathers out of Egypt."
When Solomon had finished all these prayers and supplications to the LORD, he rose from before the altar of the LORD, where he had been kneeling with his hands spread out toward heaven.
He stood and blessed the whole assembly of Israel in a loud voice, saying:
"Praise be to the LORD, who has given rest to his people Israel just as he promised. Not one word has failed of all the good promises he gave through his servant Moses.
May the LORD our God be with us as he was with our fathers; may he never leave us nor forsake us.
May he turn our hearts to him, to walk in all his ways and to keep the commands, decrees and regulations he gave our fathers.
And may these words of mine, which I have prayed before the LORD, be near to the LORD our God day and night, that he may uphold the cause of his servant and the cause of his people Israel according to each day's need,
so that all the peoples of the earth may know that the LORD is God and that there is no other.
But your hearts must be fully committed to the LORD our God, to live by his decrees and obey his commands, as at this time."
Then the king and all Israel with him offered sacrifices before the LORD.
Solomon offered a sacrifice of fellowship offerings to the LORD: twenty-two thousand cattle and a hundred and twenty thousand sheep and goats. So the king and all the Israelites dedicated the temple of the LORD.
On that same day the king consecrated the middle part of the courtyard in front of the temple of the LORD, and there he offered burnt offerings, grain offerings and the fat of the fellowship offerings, because the bronze altar before the LORD was too small to hold the burnt offerings, the grain offerings and the fat of the fellowship offerings.
So Solomon observed the festival at that time, and all Israel with him--a vast assembly, people from Lebo Hamath to the Wadi of Egypt. They celebrated it before the LORD our God for seven days and seven days more, fourteen days in all.
On the following day he sent the people away. They blessed the king and then went home, joyful and glad in heart for all the good things the LORD had done for his servant David and his people Israel.
Israel was a spreading vine; he brought forth fruit for himself. As his fruit increased, he built more altars; as his land prospered, he adorned his sacred stones.
Their heart is deceitful, and now they must bear their guilt. The LORD will demolish their altars and destroy their sacred stones.
Then they will say, "We have no king because we did not revere the LORD. But even if we had a king, what could he do for us?"
They make many promises, take false oaths and make agreements; therefore lawsuits spring up like poisonous weeds in a plowed field.
The people who live in Samaria fear for the calf-idol of Beth Aven. Its people will mourn over it, and so will its idolatrous priests, those who had rejoiced over its splendor, because it is taken from them into exile.
It will be carried to Assyria as tribute for the great king. Ephraim will be disgraced; Israel will be ashamed of its wooden idols.
Samaria and its king will float away like a twig on the surface of the waters.
The high places of wickedness will be destroyed-- it is the sin of Israel. Thorns and thistles will grow up and cover their altars. Then they will say to the mountains, "Cover us!" and to the hills, "Fall on us!"
"Since the days of Gibeah, you have sinned, O Israel, and there you have remained. Did not war overtake the evildoers in Gibeah?
When I please, I will punish them; nations will be gathered against them to put them in bonds for their double sin.
Ephraim is a trained heifer that loves to thresh; so I will put a yoke on her fair neck. I will drive Ephraim, Judah must plow, and Jacob must break up the ground.
Sow for yourselves righteousness, reap the fruit of unfailing love, and break up your unplowed ground; for it is time to seek the LORD, until he comes and showers righteousness on you.
But you have planted wickedness, you have reaped evil, you have eaten the fruit of deception. Because you have depended on your own strength and on your many warriors,
the roar of battle will rise against your people, so that all your fortresses will be devastated-- as Shalman devastated Beth Arbel on the day of battle, when mothers were dashed to the ground with their children.
Thus will it happen to you, O Bethel, because your wickedness is great. When that day dawns, the king of Israel will be completely destroyed.