Tuesday, October 6th, 2015

I Kings 8-11

Chapter 8

Then Solomon convened in Jerusalem Israel’s elders, all the leaders of the Israelite tribes and families, so they could witness the transferal of the ark of the Lord’s covenant from the city of David (that is, Zion). 2 All the men of Israel assembled before King Solomon during the festival in the month Ethanim (the seventh month). 3 When all Israel’s elders had arrived, the priests lifted the ark. 4 The priests and Levites carried the ark of the Lord, the tent of meeting, and all the holy items in the tent. 5 Now King Solomon and all the Israelites who had assembled with him went on ahead of the ark and sacrificed more sheep and cattle than could be counted or numbered.

6 The priests brought the ark of the Lord’s covenant to its assigned place in the inner sanctuary of the temple, in the most holy place, under the wings of the cherubs. 7 The cherubs’ wings extended over the place where the ark sat; the cherubs overshadowed the ark and its poles. 8 The poles were so long their ends were visible from the holy place in front of the inner sanctuary, but they could not be seen from beyond that point. They have remained there to this very day. 9 There was nothing in the ark except the two stone tablets Moses had placed there in Horeb. It was there that the Lord made an agreement with the Israelites after he brought them out of the land of Egypt. 10 Once the priests left the holy place, a cloud filled the Lord’s temple. 11 The priests could not carry out their duties because of the cloud; the Lord’s glory filled his temple.

12 Then Solomon said, “The Lord has said that he lives in thick darkness. 13 O Lord, truly I have built a lofty temple for you, a place where you can live permanently.” 14 Then the king turned around and pronounced a blessing over the whole Israelite assembly as they stood there. 15 He said, “The Lord God of Israel is worthy of praise because he has fulfilled what he promised my father David. 16 He told David, ‘Since the day I brought my people Israel out of Egypt, I have not chosen a city from all the tribes of Israel to build a temple in which to live. But I have chosen David to lead my people Israel.’ 17 Now my father David had a strong desire to build a temple to honor the Lord God of Israel. 18 The Lord told my father David, ‘It is right for you to have a strong desire to build a temple to honor me. 19 But you will not build the temple; your very own son will build the temple for my honor.’ 20 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 21 and set up in it a place for the ark containing the covenant the Lord made with our ancestors when he brought them out of the land of Egypt.”

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. 23 He prayed: “O Lord, God of Israel, there is no god like you in heaven above or on earth below! You maintain covenantal loyalty to your servants who obey you with sincerity. 24 You have kept your word to your servant, my father David; this very day you have fulfilled what you promised. 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, provided that your descendants watch their step and serve me as you have done.’ 26 Now, O God of Israel, may the promise you made to your servant, my father David, be realized.

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

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. 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.

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

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

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

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

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

46 “The time will come when your people 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, whether far away or close by. 47 When your people come to their senses 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; we have done evil.’ 48 When they return to you with all their heart and being in the land where they are held prisoner, 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, 49 then listen from your heavenly dwelling place to their prayers for help and vindicate them. 50 Forgive all the rebellious acts of your sinful people and cause their captors to have mercy on them. 51 After all, they are your people and your special possession whom you brought out of Egypt, from the middle of the iron-smelting furnace.

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

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. 55 When he stood up, he pronounced a blessing over the entire assembly of Israel, saying in a loud voice: 56 “The Lord is worthy of praise because he has made Israel his people secure just as he promised! Not one of all the faithful promises he made through his servant Moses is left unfulfilled! 57 May the Lord our God be with us, as he was with our ancestors. May he not abandon us or leave us. 58 May he make us submissive, so we can follow all his instructions and obey the commandments, rules, and regulations he commanded our ancestors. 59 May the Lord our God be constantly aware of these requests of mine I have presented to him, so that he might vindicate his servant and his people Israel as the need arises. 60 Then all the nations of the earth will recognize that the Lord is the only genuine God. 61 May you demonstrate wholehearted devotion to the Lord our God by following his rules and obeying his commandments, as you are presently doing.”

62 The king and all Israel with him were presenting sacrifices to the Lord. 63 Solomon offered as peace offerings to the Lord 22,000 cattle and 120,000 sheep. Then the king and all the Israelites dedicated the Lord’s temple. 64 That day the king consecrated the middle of the courtyard that is in front of the Lord’s temple. He offered there burnt sacrifices, grain offerings, and the fat from the peace offerings, because the bronze altar that stood before the Lord was too small to hold all these offerings. 65 At that time Solomon and all Israel with him celebrated a festival before the Lord our God for two entire weeks. This great assembly included people from all over the land, from Lebo Hamath in the north to the Brook of Egypt in the south. 66 On the fifteenth day after the festival started, he dismissed the people. They asked God to empower the king and then went to their homes, happy and content because of all the good the Lord had done for his servant David and his people Israel.

Chapter 9

After Solomon finished building the Lord’s temple, the royal palace, and all the other construction projects he had planned, 2 the Lord appeared to Solomon a second time, in the same way he had appeared to him at Gibeon. 3 The Lord said to him, “I have answered your prayer and your request for help that you made to me. I have consecrated this temple you built by making it my permanent home; I will be constantly present there. 4 You must serve me with integrity and sincerity, just as your father David did. Do everything I commanded and obey my rules and regulations. 5 Then I will allow your dynasty to rule over Israel permanently, just as I promised your father David, ‘You will not fail to have a successor on the throne of Israel.’

6 “But if you or your sons ever turn away from me, fail to obey the regulations and rules I instructed you to keep, and decide to serve and worship other gods, 7 then I will remove Israel from the land I have given them, I will abandon this temple I have consecrated with my presence, and Israel will be mocked and ridiculed among all the nations. 8 This temple will become a heap of ruins; everyone who passes by it will be shocked and will hiss out their scorn, saying, ‘Why did the Lord do this to this land and this temple?’ 9 Others will then answer, ‘Because they abandoned the Lord their God, who led their ancestors out of Egypt. They embraced other gods whom they worshiped and served. That is why the Lord has brought all this disaster down on them.’”

10 After twenty years, during which Solomon built the Lord’s temple and the royal palace, 11 King Solomon gave King Hiram of Tyre twenty cities in the region of Galilee, because Hiram had supplied Solomon with cedars, evergreens, and all the gold he wanted. 12 When Hiram went out from Tyre to inspect the cities Solomon had given him, he was not pleased with them. 13 Hiram asked, “Why did you give me these cities, my friend?” He called that area the region of Cabul, a name which it has retained to this day. 14 Hiram had sent to the king one hundred twenty talents of gold.

15 Here are the details concerning the work crews King Solomon conscripted to build the Lord’s temple, his palace, the terrace, the wall of Jerusalem, and the cities of Hazor, Megiddo, and Gezer. 16 (Pharaoh, king of Egypt, had attacked and captured Gezer. He burned it and killed the Canaanites who lived in the city. He gave it as a wedding present to his daughter, who had married Solomon.) 17 Solomon built up Gezer, lower Beth Horon, 18 Baalath, Tadmor in the wilderness, 19 all the storage cities that belonged to him, and the cities where chariots and horses were kept. He built whatever he wanted in Jerusalem, Lebanon, and throughout his entire kingdom. 20 Now several non-Israelite peoples were left in the land after the conquest of Joshua, including the Amorites, Hittites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites. 21 Their descendants remained in the land (the Israelites were unable to wipe them out completely). Solomon conscripted them for his work crews, and they continue in that role to this very day. 22 Solomon did not assign Israelites to these work crews; the Israelites served as his soldiers, attendants, officers, charioteers, and commanders of his chariot forces. 23 These men were also in charge of Solomon’s work projects; there were a total of 550 men who supervised the workers. 24 Solomon built the terrace as soon as Pharaoh’s daughter moved up from the city of David to the palace Solomon built for her.

25 Three times a year Solomon offered burnt offerings and peace offerings on the altar he had built for the Lord, burning incense along with them before the Lord. He made the temple his official worship place.

26 King Solomon also built ships in Ezion Geber, which is located near Elat in the land of Edom, on the shore of the Red Sea. 27 Hiram sent his fleet and some of his sailors, who were well acquainted with the sea, to serve with Solomon’s men. 28 They sailed to Ophir, took from there four hundred twenty talents of gold, and then brought them to King Solomon.

Chapter 10

When the queen of Sheba heard about Solomon, she came to challenge him with difficult questions. 2 She arrived in Jerusalem with a great display of pomp, bringing with her camels carrying spices, a very large quantity of gold, and precious gems. She visited Solomon and discussed with him everything that was on her mind. 3 Solomon answered all her questions; there was no question too complex for the king. 4 When the queen of Sheba saw for herself Solomon’s extensive wisdom, the palace he had built, 5 the food in his banquet hall, his servants and attendants, their robes, his cupbearers, and his burnt offerings which he presented in the Lord’s temple, she was amazed. 6 She said to the king, “The report I heard in my own country about your wise sayings and insight was true! 7 I did not believe these things until I came and saw them with my own eyes. Indeed, I didn’t hear even half the story! Your wisdom and wealth surpass what was reported to me. 8 Your attendants, who stand before you at all times and hear your wise sayings, are truly happy! 9 May the Lord your God be praised because he favored you by placing you on the throne of Israel! Because of the Lord’s eternal love for Israel, he made you king so you could make just and right decisions.” 10 She gave the king 120 talents of gold, a very large quantity of spices, and precious gems. The quantity of spices the queen of Sheba gave King Solomon has never been matched. 11 (Hiram’s fleet, which carried gold from Ophir, also brought from Ophir a very large quantity of fine timber and precious gems. 12 With the timber the king made supports for the Lord’s temple and for the royal palace and stringed instruments for the musicians. No one has seen so much of this fine timber to this very day.) 13 King Solomon gave the queen of Sheba everything she requested, besides what he had freely offered her. Then she left and returned to her homeland with her attendants.

14 Solomon received 666 talents of gold per year, 15 besides what he collected from the merchants, traders, Arabian kings, and governors of the land. 16 King Solomon made two hundred large shields of hammered gold; 600 measures of gold were used for each shield. 17 He also made three hundred small shields of hammered gold; three minas of gold were used for each of these shields. The king placed them in the Palace of the Lebanon Forest.

18 The king made a large throne decorated with ivory and overlaid it with pure gold. 19 There were six steps leading up to the throne, and the back of it was rounded on top. The throne had two armrests with a statue of a lion standing on each side. 20 There were twelve statues of lions on the six steps, one lion at each end of each step. There was nothing like it in any other kingdom.

21 All of King Solomon’s cups were made of gold, and all the household items in the Palace of the Lebanon Forest were made of pure gold. There were no silver items, for silver was not considered very valuable in Solomon’s time. 22 Along with Hiram’s fleet, the king had a fleet of large merchant ships that sailed the sea. Once every three years the fleet came into port with cargoes of gold, silver, ivory, apes, and peacocks.

23 King Solomon was wealthier and wiser than any of the kings of the earth. 24 Everyone in the world wanted to visit Solomon to see him display his God-given wisdom. 25 Year after year visitors brought their gifts, which included items of silver, items of gold, clothes, perfume, spices, horses, and mules.

26 Solomon accumulated chariots and horses. He had 1,400 chariots and 12,000 horses. He kept them in assigned cities and in Jerusalem. 27 The king made silver as plentiful in Jerusalem as stones; cedar was as plentiful as sycamore fig trees are in the lowlands. 28 Solomon acquired his horses from Egypt and from Que; the king’s traders purchased them from Que. 29 They paid 600 silver pieces for each chariot from Egypt and 150 silver pieces for each horse. They also sold chariots and horses to all the kings of the Hittites and to the kings of Syria.

Chapter 11

King Solomon fell in love with many foreign women (besides Pharaoh’s daughter), including Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Sidonians, and Hittites. 2 They came from nations about which the Lord had warned the Israelites, “You must not establish friendly relations with them! If you do, they will surely shift your allegiance to their gods.” But Solomon was irresistibly attracted to them.

3 He had 700 royal wives and 300 concubines; his wives had a powerful influence over him. 4 When Solomon became old, his wives shifted his allegiance to other gods; he was not wholeheartedly devoted to the Lord his God, as his father David had been. 5 Solomon worshiped the Sidonian goddess Astarte and the detestable Ammonite god Milcom. 6 Solomon did evil in the Lord’s sight; he did not remain loyal to the Lord, like his father David had. 7 Furthermore, on the hill east of Jerusalem Solomon built a high place for the detestable Moabite god Chemosh and for the detestable Ammonite god Milcom. 8 He built high places for all his foreign wives so they could burn incense and make sacrifices to their gods.

9 The Lord was angry with Solomon because he had shifted his allegiance away from the Lord, the God of Israel, who had appeared to him on two occasions 10 and had warned him about this very thing, so that he would not follow other gods. But he did not obey the Lord’s command. 11 So the Lord said to Solomon, “Because you insist on doing these things and have not kept the covenantal rules I gave you, I will surely tear the kingdom away from you and give it to your servant. 12 However, for your father David’s sake I will not do this while you are alive. I will tear it away from your son’s hand instead. 13 But I will not tear away the entire kingdom; I will leave your son one tribe for my servant David’s sake and for the sake of my chosen city Jerusalem.”

14 The Lord brought against Solomon an enemy, Hadad the Edomite, a descendant of the Edomite king. 15 During David’s campaign against Edom, Joab, the commander of the army, while on a mission to bury the dead, killed every male in Edom. 16 For six months Joab and the entire Israelite army stayed there until they had exterminated every male in Edom. 17 Hadad, who was only a small boy at the time, escaped with some of his father’s Edomite servants and headed for Egypt. 18 They went from Midian to Paran; they took some men from Paran and went to Egypt. Pharaoh, king of Egypt, supplied him with a house and food and even assigned him some land. 19 Pharaoh liked Hadad so well he gave him his sister-in-law (Queen Tahpenes’ sister) as a wife. 20 Tahpenes’ sister gave birth to his son, named Genubath. Tahpenes raised him in Pharaoh’s palace; Genubath grew up in Pharaoh’s palace among Pharaoh’s sons. 21 While in Egypt Hadad heard that David had passed away and that Joab, the commander of the army, was dead. So Hadad asked Pharaoh, “Give me permission to leave so I can return to my homeland.” 22 Pharaoh said to him, “What do you lack here that makes you want to go to your homeland?” Hadad replied, “Nothing, but please give me permission to leave.”

23 God also brought against Solomon another enemy, Rezon son of Eliada who had run away from his master, King Hadadezer of Zobah. 24 He gathered some men and organized a raiding band. When David tried to kill them, they went to Damascus, where they settled down and gained control of the city. 25 He was Israel’s enemy throughout Solomon’s reign and, like Hadad, caused trouble. He loathed Israel and ruled over Syria.

26 Jeroboam son of Nebat, one of Solomon’s servants, rebelled against the king. He was an Ephraimite from Zeredah whose mother was a widow named Zeruah. 27 This is what prompted him to rebel against the king: Solomon built a terrace and he closed up a gap in the wall of the city of his father David. 28 Jeroboam was a talented man; when Solomon saw that the young man was an accomplished worker, he made him the leader of the work crew from the tribe of Joseph. 29 At that time, when Jeroboam had left Jerusalem, the prophet Ahijah the Shilonite met him on the road; the two of them were alone in the open country. Ahijah was wearing a brand new robe, 30 and he grabbed the robe and tore it into twelve pieces. 31 Then he told Jeroboam, “Take ten pieces, for this is what the Lord God of Israel says: ‘Look, I am about to tear the kingdom from Solomon’s hand and I will give ten tribes to you. 32 He will retain one tribe, for my servant David’s sake and for the sake of Jerusalem, the city I have chosen out of all the tribes of Israel. 33 I am taking the kingdom from him because they have abandoned me and worshiped the Sidonian goddess Astarte, the Moabite god Chemosh, and the Ammonite god Milcom. They have not followed my instructions by doing what I approve and obeying my rules and regulations, like Solomon’s father David did. 34 I will not take the whole kingdom from his hand. I will allow him to be ruler for the rest of his life for the sake of my chosen servant David who kept my commandments and rules. 35 I will take the kingdom from the hand of his son and give ten tribes to you. 36 I will leave his son one tribe so my servant David’s dynasty may continue to serve me in Jerusalem, the city I have chosen as my home. 37 I will select you; you will rule over all you desire to have and you will be king over Israel. 38 You must obey all I command you to do, follow my instructions, do what I approve, and keep my rules and commandments, like my servant David did. Then I will be with you and establish for you a lasting dynasty, as I did for David; I will give you Israel. 39 I will humiliate David’s descendants because of this, but not forever.” 40 Solomon tried to kill Jeroboam, but Jeroboam escaped to Egypt and found refuge with King Shishak of Egypt. He stayed in Egypt until Solomon died.

41 The rest of the events of Solomon’s reign, including all his accomplishments and his wise decisions, are recorded in the scroll called the Annals of Solomon. 42 Solomon ruled over all Israel from Jerusalem for forty years. 43 Then Solomon passed away and was buried in the city of his father David. His son Rehoboam replaced him as king.