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1 Kings 8:22-61

Context
Solomon Prays for Israel

8:22 Solomon stood before the altar of the Lord in front of the entire assembly of Israel and spread out his hands toward the sky. 1  8:23 He prayed: 2  “O Lord, God of Israel, there is no god like you in heaven above or on earth below! You maintain covenantal loyalty 3  to your servants who obey you with sincerity. 4  8:24 You have kept your word to your servant, my father David; 5  this very day you have fulfilled what you promised. 6  8:25 Now, O Lord, God of Israel, keep the promise you made to your servant, my father David, when you said, ‘You will never fail to have a successor ruling before me on the throne of Israel, 7  provided that your descendants watch their step and serve me as you have done.’ 8  8:26 Now, O God of Israel, may the promise you made 9  to your servant, my father David, be realized. 10 

8:27 “God does not really live on the earth! 11  Look, if the sky and the highest heaven cannot contain you, how much less this temple I have built! 8:28 But respond favorably to 12  your servant’s prayer and his request for help, O Lord my God. Answer 13  the desperate prayer 14  your servant is presenting to you 15  today. 8:29 Night and day may you watch over this temple, the place where you promised you would live. 16  May you answer your servant’s prayer for this place. 17  8:30 Respond to the request of your servant and your people Israel for this place. 18  Hear from inside your heavenly dwelling place 19  and respond favorably. 20 

8:31 “When someone is accused of sinning against his neighbor and the latter pronounces a curse on the alleged offender before your altar in this temple, be willing to forgive the accused if the accusation is false. 21  8:32 Listen from heaven and make a just decision about your servants’ claims. Condemn the guilty party, declare the other innocent, and give both of them what they deserve. 22 

8:33 “The time will come when 23  your people Israel are defeated by an enemy 24  because they sinned against you. If they come back to you, renew their allegiance to you, 25  and pray for your help 26  in this temple, 8:34 then listen from heaven, forgive the sin of your people Israel, and bring them back to the land you gave to their ancestors.

8:35 “The time will come when 27  the skies are shut up tightly and no rain falls because your people 28  sinned against you. When they direct their prayers toward this place, renew their allegiance to you, 29  and turn away from their sin because you punish 30  them, 8:36 then listen from heaven and forgive the sin of your servants, your people Israel. Certainly 31  you will then teach them the right way to live 32  and send rain on your land that you have given your people to possess. 33 

8:37 “The time will come when the land suffers from a famine, a plague, blight and disease, or a locust 34  invasion, or when their enemy lays siege to the cities of the land, 35  or when some other type of plague or epidemic occurs. 8:38 When all your people Israel pray and ask for help, 36  as they acknowledge their pain 37  and spread out their hands toward this temple, 8:39 then listen from your heavenly dwelling place, forgive their sin, 38  and act favorably toward each one based on your evaluation of his motives. 39  (Indeed you are the only one who can correctly evaluate the motives of all people.) 40  8:40 Then they will obey 41  you throughout their lifetimes as 42  they live on the land you gave to our ancestors.

8:41 “Foreigners, who do not belong to your people Israel, will come from a distant land because of your reputation. 43  8:42 When they hear about your great reputation 44  and your ability to accomplish mighty deeds, 45  they will come and direct their prayers toward this temple. 8:43 Then listen from your heavenly dwelling place and answer all the prayers of the foreigners. 46  Then all the nations of the earth will acknowledge your reputation, 47  obey 48  you like your people Israel do, and recognize that this temple I built belongs to you. 49 

8:44 “When you direct your people to march out and fight their enemies, 50  and they direct their prayers to the Lord 51  toward his chosen city and this temple I built for your honor, 52  8:45 then listen from heaven to their prayers for help 53  and vindicate them. 54 

8:46 “The time will come when your people 55  will sin against you (for there is no one who is sinless!) and you will be angry with them and deliver them over to their enemies, who will take them as prisoners to their own land, 56  whether far away or close by. 8:47 When your people 57  come to their senses 58  in the land where they are held prisoner, they will repent and beg for your mercy in the land of their imprisonment, admitting, ‘We have sinned and gone astray; 59  we have done evil.’ 8:48 When they return to you with all their heart and being 60  in the land where they are held prisoner, 61  and direct their prayers to you toward the land you gave to their ancestors, your chosen city, and the temple I built for your honor, 62  8:49 then listen from your heavenly dwelling place to their prayers for help 63  and vindicate them. 64  8:50 Forgive all the rebellious acts of your sinful people and cause their captors to have mercy on them. 65  8:51 After all, 66  they are your people and your special possession 67  whom you brought out of Egypt, from the middle of the iron-smelting furnace. 68 

8:52 “May you be attentive 69  to your servant’s and your people Israel’s requests for help and may you respond to all their prayers to you. 70  8:53 After all, 71  you picked them out of all the nations of the earth to be your special possession, 72  just as you, O sovereign Lord, announced through your servant Moses when you brought our ancestors out of Egypt.”

8:54 When Solomon finished presenting all these prayers and requests to the Lord, he got up from before the altar of the Lord where he had kneeled and spread out his hands toward the sky. 73  8:55 When he stood up, he pronounced a blessing over the entire assembly of Israel, saying in a loud voice: 8:56 “The Lord is worthy of praise because he has made Israel his people secure 74  just as he promised! Not one of all the faithful promises he made through his servant Moses is left unfulfilled! 75  8:57 May the Lord our God be with us, as he was with our ancestors. May he not abandon us or leave us. 8:58 May he make us submissive, 76  so we can follow all his instructions 77  and obey 78  the commandments, rules, and regulations he commanded our ancestors. 8:59 May the Lord our God be constantly aware of these requests of mine I have presented to him, 79  so that he might vindicate 80  his servant and his people Israel as the need arises. 8:60 Then 81  all the nations of the earth will recognize that the Lord is the only genuine God. 82  8:61 May you demonstrate wholehearted devotion to the Lord our God 83  by following 84  his rules and obeying 85  his commandments, as you are presently doing.” 86 

1 tn Or “heaven.”

2 tn Heb “said.”

3 tn Heb “one who keeps the covenant and the loyal love.” The expression is a hendiadys.

4 tn Heb “who walk before you with all their heart.”

5 tn Heb “[you] who kept to your servant David my father that which you spoke to him.”

6 tn Heb “you spoke by your mouth and by your hand you fulfilled, as this day.”

7 tn Heb “there will not be cut off from you a man from before me sitting on the throne of Israel.”

8 tn Heb “guard their way by walking before me as you have walked before me.”

9 tn Heb “the words that you spoke.”

10 tn Or “prove to be reliable.”

11 tn Heb “Indeed, can God really live on the earth?” The rhetorical question expects the answer, “Of course not,” the force of which the translation above seeks to reflect.

12 tn Heb “turn to.”

13 tn Heb “by listening to.”

14 tn Heb “the loud cry and the prayer.”

15 tn Heb “praying before you.”

16 tn Heb “so your eyes might be open toward this house night and day, toward the place about which you said, ‘My name will be there.’”

17 tn Heb “by listening to the prayer which your servant is praying concerning this place.”

18 tn Heb “listen to the request of your servant and your people Israel which they are praying concerning this place.”

19 tn Heb “and you, hear inside your dwelling place, inside heaven.” The precise nuance of the preposition אֶל (’el), used here with the verb “hear,” is unclear. One expects the preposition “from,” which appears in the parallel text in 2 Chr 6:21. The nuance “inside; among” is attested for אֶל (see Gen 23:19; 1 Sam 10:22; Jer 4:3), but in each case a verb of motion is employed with the preposition, unlike 1 Kgs 8:30. The translation above (“from inside”) is based on the demands of the immediate context rather than attested usage elsewhere.

20 tn Heb “hear and forgive.”

21 tn Heb “and forgive the man who sins against his neighbor when one takes up against him a curse to curse him and the curse comes before your altar in this house.” In the Hebrew text the words “and forgive” conclude v. 30, but the accusative sign at the beginning of v. 31 suggests the verb actually goes with what follows in v. 31. The parallel text in 2 Chr 6:22 begins with “and if,” rather than the accusative sign. In this case “forgive” must be taken with what precedes, and v. 31 must be taken as the protasis (“if” clause) of a conditional sentence, with v. 32 being the apodosis (“then” clause) that completes the sentence.

sn Be willing to forgive the accused if the accusation is false. At first it appears that Solomon is asking God to forgive the guilty party. But in v. 32 Solomon asks the Lord to discern who is guilty and innocent, so v. 31 must refer to a situation where an accusation has been made, but not yet proven. The very periphrastic translation reflects this interpretation.

22 tn Heb “and you, hear [from] heaven and act and judge your servants by declaring the guilty to be guilty, to give his way on his head, and to declare the innocent to be innocent, to give to him according to his innocence.”

23 tn Heb “when.” In the Hebrew text vv. 33-34 actually contain one lengthy conditional sentence, which the translation has divided into two sentences for stylistic reasons.

24 tn Or “are struck down before an enemy.”

25 tn Heb “confess [or perhaps, “praise”] your name.”

26 tn Heb “and they pray and ask for help.”

27 tn Heb “when.” In the Hebrew text vv. 35-36a actually contain one lengthy conditional sentence, which the translation has divided into two sentences for stylistic reasons.

28 tn Heb “they”; the referent (your people) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

29 tn Heb “confess [or perhaps, “praise”] your name.”

30 tn The Hebrew text has “because you answer them,” as if the verb is from עָנָה (’anah, “to answer”). However, this reference to a divine answer is premature, since the next verse asks for God to intervene in mercy. It is better to revocalize the consonantal text as תְעַנֵּם (tÿannem, “you afflict them”), a Piel verb form from the homonym עָנָה (“to afflict”).

31 tn The translation understands כִּי (ki) in an emphatic or asseverative sense.

32 tn Heb “the good way in which they should walk.”

33 tn Or “for an inheritance.”

34 tn Actually two Hebrew terms appear here, both of which are usually taken as referring to locusts. Perhaps different stages of growth or different varieties are in view.

35 tn Heb “in the land, his gates.”

36 tn Heb “every prayer, every request for help which will be to all the people, to all your people Israel.”

37 tn Heb “which they know, each the pain of his heart.”

38 tn The words “their sin” are added for clarification.

39 tn Heb “and act and give to each one according to all his ways because you know his heart.” In the Hebrew text vv. 37-39a actually contain one lengthy conditional sentence, which the translation has divided up for stylistic reasons.

40 tn Heb “Indeed you know, you alone, the heart of all the sons of mankind.”

41 tn Heb “fear.”

42 tn Heb “all the days [in] which.”

43 tn Heb “your name.” In the OT the word “name” sometimes refers to one’s reputation or honor. The “name” of the Lord sometimes designates the Lord himself, being indistinguishable from the proper name.

44 tn Heb “your great name.” See the note on the word “reputation” in the previous verse.

45 tn Heb “and your strong hand and your outstretched arm.”

46 tn Heb “and do all which the foreigner calls to [i.e., “requests of”] you.”

47 tn Heb “your name.” See the note on the word “reputation” in v. 41.

48 tn Heb “fear.”

49 tn Heb “that your name is called over this house which I built.” The Hebrew idiom “to call the name over” indicates ownership. See 2 Sam 12:28.

50 tn Heb “When your people go out for battle against their enemies in the way which you send them.”

51 tn Or perhaps “to you, O Lord.” See 2 Chr 6:34.

52 tn Heb “your name.” See the note on the word “reputation” in v. 41.

53 tn Heb “their prayer and their request for help.”

54 tn Heb “and accomplish their justice.”

55 tn Heb “they”; the referent (your people) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

56 tn Heb “the land of the enemy.”

57 tn Heb “they”; the referent (your people) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

58 tn Or “stop and reflect”; Heb “bring back to their heart.”

59 tn Or “done wrong.”

60 tn Or “soul.”

61 tn Heb “in the land of their enemies.”

62 tn Heb “your name.” See the note on the word “reputation” in v. 41.

63 tn Heb “their prayer and their request for help.”

64 tn Heb “and accomplish their justice.”

65 tn Heb “and forgive your people who have sinned against you, [forgive] all their rebellious acts by which they rebelled against you, and grant them mercy before their captors so they will show them mercy.”

66 tn Or “for.”

67 tn Heb “inheritance.”

68 tn The Hebrew term כּוּר (kur, “furnace,” cf. Akkadian ku„ru) is a metaphor for the intense heat of purification. A כּוּר was not a source of heat but a crucible (“iron-smelting furnace”) in which precious metals were melted down and their impurities burned away (see I. Cornelius, NIDOTTE 2:618-19). Thus Egypt served not as a place of punishment for the Israelites, but as a place of refinement to bring Israel to a place of submission to divine sovereignty.

sn From the middle of the iron-smelting furnace. The metaphor of a furnace suggests fire and heat and is an apt image to remind the people of the suffering they endured while slaves in Egypt.

69 tn Heb “May your eyes be open.”

70 tn Heb “to listen to them in all their calling out to you.”

71 tn Or “For.”

72 tn Heb “your inheritance.”

73 tn Or “toward heaven.”

74 tn Heb “he has given a resting place to his people Israel.”

75 tn Heb “not one word from his entire good word he spoke by Moses his servant has fallen.”

76 tn Heb “to bend our hearts toward him.” The infinitive is subordinate to the initial prayer, “may the Lord our God be with us.” The Hebrew term לֵבָב (levav, “heart”) here refers to the people’s volition and will.

77 tn Heb “to walk in all his ways.”

78 tn Heb “keep.”

79 tn Heb “May these words of mine, which I have requested before the Lord, be near the Lord our God day and night.”

80 tn Heb “accomplish the justice of.”

81 tn Heb “so that.”

82 tn Heb “the Lord, he is the God, there is no other.”

83 tn Heb “may your hearts be complete with the Lord our God.”

84 tn Heb “walking in.”

85 tn Heb “keeping.”

86 tn Heb “as this day.”



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