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2 Chronicles 6:1--7:22

Context

6:1 Then Solomon said, “The Lord has said that he lives in thick darkness. 6:2 O Lord, 1  I have built a lofty temple for you, a place where you can live permanently.” 6:3 Then the king turned around 2  and pronounced a blessing over the whole Israelite assembly as they stood there. 3  6:4 He said, “The Lord God of Israel is worthy of praise because he has fulfilled 4  what he promised 5  my father David. 6:5 He told David, 6  ‘Since the day I brought my people out of the land of Egypt, I have not chosen a city from all the tribes of Israel to build a temple in which to live. 7  Nor did I choose a man as leader of my people Israel. 6:6 But now I have chosen Jerusalem as a place to live, 8  and I have chosen David to lead my people Israel.’ 6:7 Now my father David had a strong desire to build a temple to honor the Lord God of Israel. 9  6:8 The Lord told my father David, ‘It is right for you to have a strong desire to build a temple to honor me. 10  6:9 But you will not build the temple; your very own son will build the temple for my honor.’ 11  6:10 The Lord has kept the promise he made. I have taken my father David’s place and have occupied the throne of Israel, as the Lord promised. I have built this temple for the honor of the Lord God of Israel 6:11 and set up in it a place for the ark containing the covenant the Lord made with the Israelites.”

6:12 He stood before the altar of the Lord in front of the entire assembly of Israel and spread out his hands. 6:13 Solomon had made a bronze platform and had placed it in the middle of the enclosure. It was seven and one-half feet 12  long, seven and one-half feet 13  wide, and four and one-half feet 14  high. He stood on it and then got down on his knees in front of the entire assembly of Israel. He spread out his hands toward the sky, 6:14 and prayed: 15  “O Lord God of Israel, there is no god like you in heaven or on earth! You maintain covenantal loyalty 16  to your servants who obey you with sincerity. 17  6:15 You have kept your word to your servant, my father David; 18  this very day you have fulfilled what you promised. 19  6:16 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, 20  provided that your descendants watch their step and obey my law as you have done.’ 21  6:17 Now, O Lord God of Israel, may the promise you made to your servant David be realized. 22 

6:18 “God does not really live with humankind on the earth! 23  Look, if the sky and the highest heaven cannot contain you, how much less this temple I have built! 6:19 But respond favorably to 24  your servant’s prayer and his request for help, O Lord my God. Answer 25  the desperate prayer 26  your servant is presenting to you. 27  6:20 Night and day may you watch over this temple, the place where you promised you would live. 28  May you answer your servant’s prayer for this place. 29  6:21 Respond to the requests of your servant and your people Israel for this place. 30  Hear from your heavenly dwelling place and respond favorably and forgive. 31 

6:22 “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, 32  6:23 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. 33 

6:24 “If your people Israel are defeated by an enemy 34  because they sinned against you, then if they come back to you, renew their allegiance to you, 35  and pray for your help 36  before you in this temple, 6:25 then listen from heaven, forgive the sin of your people Israel, and bring them back to the land you gave to them and their ancestors. 37 

6:26 “The time will come when 38  the skies 39  are shut up tightly and no rain falls because your people 40  sinned against you. When they direct their prayers toward this place, renew their allegiance to you, 41  and turn away from their sin because you punish 42  them, 6:27 then listen from heaven and forgive the sin of your servants, your people Israel. Certainly 43  you will then teach them the right way to live 44  and send rain on your land that you have given your people to possess. 45 

6:28 “The time will come when the land suffers from a famine, a plague, blight, and disease, or a locust 46  invasion, or when their enemy lays siege to the cities of the land, 47  or when some other type of plague or epidemic occurs. 6:29 When all your people Israel pray and ask for help, 48  as they acknowledge their intense pain 49  and spread out their hands toward this temple, 6:30 then listen from your heavenly dwelling place, forgive their sin, 50  and act favorably toward each one based on your evaluation of their motives. 51  (Indeed you are the only one who can correctly evaluate the motives of all people.) 52  6:31 Then they will honor 53  you by obeying you 54  throughout their lifetimes as 55  they live on the land you gave to our ancestors.

6:32 “Foreigners, who do not belong to your people Israel, will come from a distant land because of your great reputation 56  and your ability to accomplish mighty deeds; 57  they will come and direct their prayers toward this temple. 6:33 Then listen from your heavenly dwelling place and answer all the prayers of the foreigners. 58  Then all the nations of the earth will acknowledge your reputation, 59  obey 60  you like your people Israel do, and recognize that this temple I built belongs to you. 61 

6:34 “When you direct your people to march out and fight their enemies, 62  and they direct their prayers to you toward this chosen city and this temple I built for your honor, 63  6:35 then listen from heaven to their prayers for help 64  and vindicate them. 65 

6:36 “The time will come when your people 66  will sin against you (for there is no one who is sinless!) and you will be angry at them and deliver them over to their enemies, who will take them as prisoners to their land, whether far away or close by. 6:37 When your people 67  come to their senses 68  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 69 , we have done evil!’ 6:38 When they return to you with all their heart and being 70  in the land where they are held prisoner and direct their prayers toward the land you gave to their ancestors, your chosen city, and the temple I built for your honor, 71  6:39 then listen from your heavenly dwelling place to their prayers for help, 72  vindicate them, 73  and forgive your sinful people.

6:40 “Now, my God, may you be attentive and responsive to the prayers offered in this place. 74  6:41 Now ascend, O Lord God, to your resting place, you and the ark of your strength! May your priests, O Lord God, experience your deliverance! 75  May your loyal followers rejoice in the prosperity you give! 76  6:42 O Lord God, do not reject your chosen ones! 77  Remember the faithful promises you made to your servant David!”

Solomon Dedicates the Temple

7:1 When Solomon finished praying, fire came down from heaven 78  and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices, and the Lord’s splendor filled the temple. 7:2 The priests were unable to enter the Lord’s temple because the Lord’s splendor filled the Lord’s temple. 7:3 When all the Israelites saw the fire come down and the Lord’s splendor over the temple, they got on their knees with their faces downward toward the pavement. They worshiped and gave thanks to the Lord, saying, 79  “Certainly he is good; certainly his loyal love endures!”

7:4 The king and all the people were presenting sacrifices to the Lord. 7:5 King Solomon sacrificed 22,000 cattle and 120,000 sheep. Then the king and all the people dedicated God’s temple. 7:6 The priests stood in their assigned spots, along with the Levites who had the musical instruments used for praising the Lord. 80  (These were the ones King David made for giving thanks to the Lord and which were used by David when he offered praise, saying, “Certainly his loyal love endures.”) 81  Opposite the Levites, 82  the priests were blowing the trumpets, while all Israel stood there. 7:7 Solomon consecrated the middle of the courtyard that is in front of the Lord’s temple. He offered burnt sacrifices, grain offerings, 83  and the fat from the peace offerings there, because the bronze altar that Solomon had made was too small to hold all these offerings. 84  7:8 At that time Solomon and all Israel with him celebrated a festival for seven days. This great assembly included people from Lebo Hamath in the north to the Brook of Egypt in the south. 85  7:9 On the eighth day they held an assembly, for they had dedicated the altar for seven days and celebrated the festival for seven more days. 7:10 On the twenty-third day of the seventh month, Solomon 86  sent the people home. They left 87  happy and contented 88  because of the good the Lord had done for David, Solomon, and his people Israel.

The Lord Gives Solomon a Promise and a Warning

7:11 After Solomon finished building the Lord’s temple and the royal palace, and accomplished all his plans for the Lord’s temple and his royal palace, 89  7:12 the Lord appeared to Solomon at night and said to him: “I have answered 90  your prayer and chosen this place to be my temple where sacrifices are to be made. 91  7:13 When 92  I close up the sky 93  so that it doesn’t rain, or command locusts to devour the land’s vegetation, 94  or send a plague among my people, 7:14 if my people, who belong to me, 95  humble themselves, pray, seek to please me, 96  and repudiate their sinful practices, 97  then I will respond 98  from heaven, forgive their sin, and heal their land. 99  7:15 Now I will be attentive and responsive to the prayers offered in this place. 100  7:16 Now I have chosen and consecrated this temple by making it my permanent home; 101  I will be constantly present there. 102  7:17 You must serve me as your father David did. Do everything I commanded and obey my rules and regulations. 103  7:18 Then I will establish your dynasty, 104  just as I promised your father David, ‘You will not fail to have a successor ruling over Israel.’ 105 

7:19 “But if you people 106  ever turn away from me, fail to obey the regulations and rules I instructed you to keep, 107  and decide to serve and worship other gods, 108  7:20 then I will remove you 109  from my land I have given you, 110  I will abandon this temple I have consecrated with my presence, 111  and I will make you 112  an object of mockery and ridicule 113  among all the nations. 7:21 As for this temple, which was once majestic, 114  everyone who passes by it will be shocked and say, ‘Why did the Lord do this to this land and this temple?’ 7:22 Others will then answer, 115  ‘Because they abandoned the Lord God of their ancestors, 116  who led them out of Egypt. They embraced other gods whom they worshiped and served. 117  That is why he brought all this disaster down on them.’”

1 tn The words “O Lord” do not appear in the Hebrew text, but they are supplied in the translation for clarification; Solomon addresses the Lord in prayer at this point.

2 tn Heb “turned his face.”

3 tn Heb “and he blessed all the assembly of Israel, and all the assembly of Israel was standing.”

4 tn The Hebrew text reads, “fulfilled by his hand,” but the phrase “by his hand” is somewhat redundant in contemporary English and has not been translated.

5 tn The Hebrew text reads, “promised by his mouth,” but the phrase “by his mouth” is somewhat redundant in contemporary English and has not been translated.

6 tn Heb “saying.”

7 tn Heb “to build a house for my name to be there.” Here “name” is used by metonymy for the Lord himself, and thus the expression “to be there” refers to his taking up residence there (hence the translation, “a temple in which to live”). In this case the temple is referred to as a “house” where the Lord himself can reside.

8 tn Heb for my name to be there.” See also the note on the word “live” in v. 5.

9 tn Heb “and it was with the heart of David my father to build a house for the name of the Lord God of Israel.”

sn On the significance of the Lord’s “name,” see the note on the word “live” in v. 5.

10 tn Heb “Because it was with your heart to build a house for my name, you did well that it was with your heart.”

11 tn Heb “your son, the one who came out of your body, he will build the temple for my name.”

12 tn Heb “five cubits.” Assuming a cubit of 18 inches (45 cm), the length would have been 7.5 feet (2.25 m).

13 tn Heb “five cubits.”

14 tn Heb “three cubits.” Assuming a cubit of 18 inches (45 cm), the height would have been 4.5 feet (1.35 m).

15 tn Heb “said.”

16 tn Heb “one who keeps the covenant and the loyal love.”

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

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

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

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

21 tn Heb “guard their way by walking in my law as you have walked before me.”

22 tn Or “prove to be reliable.”

23 tn Heb “Indeed, can God really live with mankind on the earth?” The rhetorical question expects the answer, “Of course not,” the force of which is reflected in the translation “God does not really live with mankind on the earth.”

24 tn Heb “turn to.”

25 tn Heb “by listening to.”

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

27 tn Heb “praying before you.”

28 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.’”

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

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

31 tn Heb “hear and forgive.”

32 tn Heb “and if 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.”

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

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

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

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

37 tn Heb “fathers” (also in vv. 31, 38).

38 tn Heb “when.” In the Hebrew text vv. 26-27a actually contain one lengthy conditional sentence, which the translation has divided into two sentences for stylistic reasons.

39 tn Or “heavens” (also in v. 12). The Hebrew term שָׁמַיִם (shamayim) may be translated “heaven(s)” or “sky” depending on the context.

40 tn Heb “they.”

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

42 tn The Hebrew text reads “because you answer them,” as if the verb is from עָנָה (’anah, “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 (“afflict”).

43 tn The present translation understands כִּי (ki) in an emphatic or asseverative sense (“Certainly”). Other translation have “indeed” (NASB), “when” (NRSV), “so” (NEB), or leave the word untranslated (NIV).

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

45 tn Or “for an inheritance.”

46 tn Actually two Hebrew words appear here, both of which are usually (but not always) taken as referring to locusts. Perhaps different stages of growth or different varieties are in view, but this is uncertain. NEB has “locusts new-sloughed or fully grown”; NASB has “locust or grasshopper”; NIV has “locusts or grasshoppers”; NRSV has “locust, or caterpillar.”

47 tn Heb “in the land, his gates.”

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

49 tn Heb “which they know, each his pain and his affliction.”

50 tn The words “their sin” are not in the Hebrew text, but are supplied for clarification.

51 tn Heb “and act and give to each one according to all his ways because you know his heart.” In the Hebrew text vv. 28-30a actually contain one lengthy conditional sentence, which the translation has divided up for stylistic reasons.

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

53 tn Heb “fear.”

54 tn Heb “by walking in your ways.”

55 tn Heb “all the days [in] which.”

56 tn Heb “your great name.” The word “name” sometimes refers to one’s reputation or honor (thus the translation here, “your great reputation).

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

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

59 tn Heb “name.” See the note on “reputation” in v. 32.

60 tn Heb “fear.”

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

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

63 tn Heb “toward this city which you have chosen and the house which I built for your name.”

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

65 tn Heb “and accomplish their justice.”

66 tn Heb “they”; the referent (God’s people) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

67 tn Heb “they”; the referent (God’s people) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

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

69 tn Or “done wrong.”

70 tn Or “soul.”

71 tn Heb “your name.” The word “name” sometimes refers to one’s reputation or honor (thus the translation here, “your honor).

72 tn Heb “their prayer and their requests for help.”

73 tn Heb “and accomplish their justice.”

74 tn Heb “May your eyes be open and your ears attentive to the prayer of this place.”

75 tn Heb “be clothed with deliverance.”

76 tn Heb “and may your loyal ones rejoice in good.”

77 tc Heb “do not turn away the face of your anointed ones.” Many medieval Hebrew mss, as well as the ancient versions, read the singular, “your anointed,” which would probably refer to Solomon specifically, rather than the people.

78 tn Or “the sky.” The Hebrew term שָׁמַיִם (shamayim) may be translated “heaven(s)” or “sky” depending on the context.

79 tn The word “saying” is supplied in the translation for stylistic reasons.

80 tn Heb “and the priests were standing at their posts, and the Levites with the instruments of music of the Lord.”

81 tn Heb “which David the king made to give thanks to the Lord, for lasting is his loyal love, when David praised by them.”

82 tn Heb “opposite them”; the referent (the Levites) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

83 tc The Hebrew text omits reference to the grain offerings at this point, but note that they are included both in the list in the second half of the verse (see note on “offerings” at the end of this verse) and in the parallel account in 1 Kgs 8:64. The construction וְאֶת־הַמִּנְחָה (vÿet-hamminkhah; vav [ו] + accusative sign + noun with article; “grain offerings”) was probably omitted accidentally by homoioarcton. Note the וְאֶת (vÿet) that immediately follows.

84 tn Heb “to hold the burnt sacrifices, grain offerings, and the fat of the peace offerings.” Because this is redundant, the translation employs a summary phrase: “all these offerings.”

85 tn Heb “Solomon held the festival at that time for seven days, and all Israel was with him, a very great assembly from Lebo Hamath to the wadi of Egypt.”

86 tn Heb “he”; the referent (Solomon) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

87 tn The words “they left” are supplied in the translation for stylistic reasons.

88 tn Heb “good of heart.”

89 tn Heb “and all that entered the heart of Solomon to do in the house of the Lord and in his house he successfully accomplished.”

90 tn Heb “I have heard.”

91 tn Heb “temple of sacrifice.” This means the Lord designated the temple as the place for making sacrifices, and this has been clarified in the translation.

92 tn Or “if.”

93 tn Or “heavens.” The Hebrew term שָׁמַיִם (shamayim) may be translated “heaven(s)” or “sky” depending on the context.

94 tn Heb “the land,” which stands here by metonymy for the vegetation growing in it.

95 tn Heb “over whom my name is called.” The Hebrew idiom “call the name over” indicates ownership. See 2 Sam 12:28.

96 tn Heb “seek my face,” where “my face” is figurative for God’s presence and acceptance.

97 tn Heb “and turn from their sinful ways.”

98 tn Heb “hear.”

99 sn Here the phrase heal their land means restore the damage done by the drought, locusts and plague mentioned in v. 13.

100 tn Heb “my eyes will be open and my ears attentive to the prayer of this place.” Note Solomon’s request in 6:40.

101 tn Heb “for my name to be there perpetually [or perhaps, “forever”].”

102 tn Heb “and my eyes and my heart will be there all the days.”

103 tn Heb “As for you, if you walk before me, as David your father walked, by doing all which I commanded you, [and] you keep my rules and my regulations.”

sn Verse 17 is actually a lengthy protasis (“if” section) of a conditional sentence, the apodosis (“then” section) of which appears in v. 18.

104 tn Heb “I will establish the throne of your kingdom.”

105 tn Heb “there will not be cut off from you a man ruling over Israel.”

106 tn The Hebrew pronoun is plural, suggesting that Solomon and all Israel (or perhaps Solomon and his successors) are in view. To convey this to the English reader, the translation “you people” has been employed.

107 tn Heb “which I placed before you.”

108 tn Heb “and walk and serve other gods and bow down to them.”

109 tn Heb “them.” The switch from the second to the third person pronoun is rhetorically effective, for it mirrors God’s rejection of his people – he has stopped addressing them as “you” and begun addressing them as “them.” However, the switch is awkward and confusing in English, so the translation maintains the direct address style.

110 tn Heb “them.” See the note on “you” earlier in this verse.

111 tc Instead of “I will throw away,” the parallel text in 1 Kgs 9:7 has “I will send away.” The two verbs sound very similar in Hebrew, so the discrepancy is likely due to an oral transmissional error.

tn Heb “and this temple which I consecrated for my name I will throw away from before my face.”

112 tn Heb “him,” which appears in context to refer to Israel (i.e., “you” in direct address). Many translations understand the direct object of the verb “make” to be the temple (NEB, NASB, NIV, NRSV “it”).

113 tn Heb “and I will make him [i.e., Israel] a proverb and a taunt,” that is, a proverbial example of destruction and an object of reproach.

114 tn Heb “and this house which was high/elevated.” The statement makes little sense in this context, which predicts the desolation that judgment will bring. Some treat the clause as concessive, “Even though this temple is lofty [now].” Others, following the lead of several ancient versions, emend the text to, “this temple will become a heap of ruins.”

115 tn Heb “and they will say.”

116 tn Heb “fathers.”

117 tn Heb “and they took hold of other gods and bowed down to them and served them.”



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