Bible Society of South Africa

To The Word – Day 145

2 Chronicles 6–10, Psalm 30

Bible text(s)

Solomon's Address to the People

(1 Kgs 8.12–21)

1Then King Solomon prayed,

LORD, you have chosen to live in clouds and darkness.

2Now I have built a majestic temple for you,

a place for you to live in for ever.”

3All the people of Israel were standing there. The king turned to face them and asked God's blessing on them. 4He said, “Praise the LORD God of Israel! He has kept the promise he made to my father David when he said to him, 5‘From the time I brought my people out of Egypt until now, I did not choose any city in the land of Israel as the place to build a temple where I would be worshipped, and I did not choose anyone to lead my people Israel. 6But now I have chosen Jerusalem as the place where I will be worshipped, and you, David, to rule my people.’ ”

7And Solomon continued, “My father David planned to build a temple for the worship of the LORD God of Israel, 8but the LORD said to him, ‘You were right in wanting to build a temple for me, 9but you will never build it. It is your son, your own son, who will build my temple.’

10“Now the LORD has kept his promise: I have succeeded my father as king of Israel, and I have built a temple for the worship of the LORD God of Israel. 11I have placed in the Temple the Covenant Box, which contains the stone tablets of the covenant which the LORD made with the people of Israel.”

Solomon's Prayer

(1 Kgs 8.22–53)

12Then in the presence of the people Solomon went and stood in front of the altar and raised his arms in prayer. 13(Solomon had made a bronze platform and put it in the middle of the courtyard. It was 2.2 metres square and 1.3 metres high. He mounted this platform, knelt down where everyone could see him, and raised his hands towards heaven.) 14He prayed, “LORD God of Israel, in all heaven and earth there is no god like you. You keep your covenant with your people and show them your love when they live in wholehearted obedience to you. 15You have kept the promise you made to my father David; today every word has been fulfilled. 16Now, LORD God of Israel, keep the other promise you made to my father when you told him that there would always be one of his descendants ruling as king of Israel, provided that they carefully obeyed your Law just as he did. 17So now, LORD God of Israel, let everything come true that you promised to your servant David.

18“But can you, O God, really live on earth among men and women? Not even all heaven is large enough to hold you, so how can this Temple that I have built be large enough? 19LORD my God, I am your servant. Listen to my prayer and grant the requests I make to you. 20Watch over this Temple day and night. You have promised that this is where you will be worshipped, so hear me when I face this Temple and pray. 21Hear my prayers and the prayers of your people Israel when they face this place and pray. In your home in heaven hear us and forgive us.

22“When a person is accused of wronging another and is brought to your altar in this Temple to take an oath that he is innocent, 23O LORD, listen in heaven and judge your servants. Punish the guilty one as he deserves and acquit the one who is innocent.

24“When your people Israel are defeated by their enemies because they have sinned against you and then when they turn to you and come to this Temple, humbly praying to you for forgiveness, 25listen to them in heaven. Forgive the sins of your people and bring them back to the land which you gave to them and to their ancestors.

26“When you hold back the rain because your people have sinned against you and then when they repent and face this Temple, humbly praying to you, 27O LORD, listen to them in heaven and forgive the sins of your servants, the people of Israel, and teach them to do what is right. Then, O LORD, send rain on this land of yours, which you gave to your people as a permanent possession.

28“When there is famine in the land or an epidemic or the crops are destroyed by scorching winds or swarms of locusts, or when your people are attacked by their enemies, or when there is disease or sickness among them, 29listen to their prayers. If any of your people Israel, out of heartfelt sorrow, stretch out their hands in prayer towards this Temple, 30hear their prayer. Listen to them in your home in heaven and forgive them. You alone know the thoughts of the human heart. Deal with each person as he deserves, 31so that your people may honour you and obey you all the time they live in the land which you gave to our ancestors.

32“When foreigners who live in a distant land hear how great and powerful you are and how you are always ready to act, and then they come to pray at this Temple, 33listen to their prayers. In heaven, where you live, hear them and do what they ask you to do, so that all the peoples of the world may know you and obey you, as your people Israel do. Then they will know that this Temple I have built is where you are to be worshipped.

34“When you command your people to go into battle against their enemies and they pray to you, wherever they are, facing this city which you have chosen and this Temple which I have built for you, 35listen to their prayers. Hear them in heaven and give them victory.

36“When your people sin against you — and there is no one who does not sin — and in your anger you let their enemies defeat them and take them as prisoners to some other land, even if that land is far away, 37listen to your people's prayers. If there in that land they repent and pray to you, confessing how sinful and wicked they have been, hear their prayers, O LORD. 38If in that land they truly and sincerely repent and pray to you as they face towards this land which you gave to our ancestors, this city which you have chosen, and this Temple which I have built for you, 39then listen to their prayers. In your home in heaven hear them and be merciful to them and forgive all the sins of your people.

40“Now, O my God, look on us and listen to the prayers offered in this place. 41Rise up now, LORD God, and with the Covenant Box, the symbol of your power, enter the Temple and stay here for ever. Bless your priests in all they do, and may all your people be happy because of your goodness to them. 42LORD God, do not reject the king you have chosen. Remember the love you had for your servant David.”

2 Chronicles 6GNBOpen in Bible reader

The Dedication of the Temple

(1 Kgs 8.62–66)

1When King Solomon finished his prayer, fire came down from heaven and burnt up the sacrifices that had been offered, and the dazzling light of the LORD's presence filled the Temple. 2Because the Temple was full of the dazzling light, the priests could not enter it. 3When the people of Israel saw the fire fall from heaven and the light fill the Temple, they fell face downwards on the pavement, worshipping God and praising him for his goodness and his eternal love. 4Then Solomon and all the people offered sacrifices to the LORD. 5He sacrificed 22,000 head of cattle and 120,000 sheep as fellowship offerings. And so he and all the people dedicated the Temple. 6The priests stood in the places that were assigned to them, and facing them stood the Levites, praising the LORD with the musical instruments that King David had provided and singing the hymn, “His Love is Eternal!” as they had been commissioned by David. The priests blew trumpets while all the people stood.

7Solomon consecrated the central part of the courtyard, the area in front of the Temple, and then offered there the sacrifices burnt whole, the grain offerings, and the fat from the fellowship offerings. He did this because the bronze altar which he had made was too small for all these offerings.

8Solomon and all the people of Israel celebrated the Festival of Shelters for seven days. There was a huge crowd of people from as far away as Hamath Pass in the north and the Egyptian border in the south. 9They had spent seven days for the dedication of the altar and then seven more days for the festival. On the last day they had a closing celebration, 10and on the following day, the 23rd day of the seventh month, Solomon sent the people home. They were happy about all the blessings that the LORD had given to his people Israel, to David, and to Solomon.

God Appears to Solomon Again

(1 Kgs 9.1–9)

11After King Solomon had finished the Temple and the palace, successfully completing all his plans for them, 12the LORD appeared to him at night. He said to him, “I have heard your prayer, and I accept this Temple as the place where sacrifices are to be offered to me. 13Whenever I hold back the rain or send locusts to eat up the crops or send an epidemic on my people, 14if they pray to me and repent and turn away from the evil they have been doing, then I will hear them in heaven, forgive their sins, and make their land prosperous again. 15I will watch over this Temple and be ready to hear all the prayers that are offered here, 16because I have chosen it and consecrated it as the place where I will be worshipped for ever. I will watch over it and protect it for all time. 17If you serve me faithfully as your father David did, obeying my laws and doing everything I have commanded you, 18I will keep the promise I made to your father David when I told him that Israel would always be ruled by his descendants. 19But if you and your people ever disobey the laws and commands I have given you, and worship other gods, 20then I will remove you from the land that I gave you, and I will abandon this Temple that I have consecrated as the place where I am to be worshipped. People everywhere will ridicule it and treat it with contempt.

21“The Temple is now greatly honoured, but then everyone who passes by it will be amazed and will ask, ‘Why did the LORD do this to this land and this Temple?’ 22People will answer, ‘It is because they abandoned the LORD their God, who brought their ancestors out of Egypt. They gave their allegiance to other gods and worshipped them. That is why the LORD has brought this disaster on them.’ ”

2 Chronicles 7GNBOpen in Bible reader

Solomon's Achievements

(1 Kgs 9.10–28)

1It took Solomon twenty years to build the Temple and his palace. 2He also rebuilt the cities that King Hiram had given him, and sent Israelites to settle in them. 3He captured the territory of Hamath and Zobah 4and fortified the city of Palmyra in the desert. He rebuilt all the cities in Hamath that were centres for storing supplies. 5Solomon also rebuilt the following cities: Upper Beth Horon and Lower Beth Horon (fortified cities with gates that could be barred), 6the city of Baalath, all the cities where he stored supplies, and the cities where his horses and chariots were stationed. He carried out all his plans for building in Jerusalem, in Lebanon, and throughout the territory that he ruled over. 7-8Solomon employed in forced labour all the descendants of the people of Canaan whom the Israelites had not killed when they took possession of the land. These included Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites, whose descendants continue to be slaves down to the present time. 9Israelites were not used in forced labour, but served as soldiers, officers, chariot commanders, and horsemen. 10There were 250 officials in charge of the forced labour working on the various building projects.

11Solomon moved his wife, the daughter of the king of Egypt, from David's City to a house he built for her. He said, “She must not live in the palace of King David of Israel, because any place where the Covenant Box has been is holy.”

12Solomon offered sacrifices to the LORD on the altar which he had built in front of the Temple. 13He offered burnt offerings according to the requirements of the Law of Moses for each holy day: Sabbaths, New Moon Festivals, and the three annual festivals — the Festival of Unleavened Bread, the Harvest Festival, and the Festival of Shelters. 14Following the rules laid down by his father David, he organized the daily work of the priests and of the Levites who assisted the priests in singing hymns and in doing their work. He also organized the temple guards in sections for performing their daily duties at each gate, in accordance with the commands of David, the man of God. 15The instructions which David had given the priests and the Levites concerning the storehouses and other matters were carried out in detail.

16By this time all Solomon's projects had been completed. From the laying of the foundation of the LORD's Temple to its completion, all the work had been successful.

17Then Solomon went to Eziongeber and Elath, ports on the shore of the Gulf of Aqaba, in the land of Edom. 18King Hiram sent him ships under the command of his own officers and crewed by experienced sailors. They sailed with Solomon's officers to the land of Ophir and brought back to Solomon more than fifteen tonnes of gold.

2 Chronicles 8GNBOpen in Bible reader

The Visit of the Queen of Sheba

(1 Kgs 10.1–13)

1The queen of Sheba heard of King Solomon's fame, and she travelled to Jerusalem to test him with difficult questions. She brought with her a large group of attendants, as well as camels loaded with spices, jewels, and a large amount of gold. When she and Solomon met, she asked him all the questions that she could think of. 2He answered them all; there was nothing too difficult for him to explain. 3The queen of Sheba heard Solomon's wisdom and saw the palace he had built. 4She saw the food that was served at his table, the living quarters for his officials, the organization of his palace staff and the uniforms they wore, the clothing of the servants who waited on him at feasts, and the sacrifices he offered in the Temple. It left her breathless and amazed.

5She said to the king, “What I heard in my own country about you and your wisdom is true! 6I did not believe what they told me until I came and saw for myself. I had not heard of even half your wisdom. You are even wiser than people say. 7How fortunate are those who serve you, who are always in your presence and are privileged to hear your wise sayings! 8Praise the LORD your God! He has shown how pleased he is with you by making you king, to rule in his name. Because he loves his people Israel and wants to preserve them for ever, he has made you their king so that you can maintain law and justice.”

9She presented to King Solomon the gifts she had brought: more than four tonnes of gold and a very large amount of spices and jewels. There have never been any other spices as fine as those that the queen of Sheba gave to King Solomon.

10(The men of King Hiram and of King Solomon who brought gold from Ophir also brought juniper wood and jewels. 11Solomon used the wood to make stairs for the Temple and for his palace, and to make harps and lyres for the musicians. Nothing like that had ever been seen before in the land of Judah.)

12King Solomon gave the queen of Sheba everything she asked for. This was in addition to what he gave her in exchange for the gifts she brought to him. Then she and her attendants returned to the land of Sheba.

King Solomon's Wealth

(1 Kgs 10.14–25)

13Every year King Solomon received almost 23 tonnes of gold, 14in addition to the taxes paid by the traders and merchants. The kings of Arabia and the governors of the Israelite districts also brought him silver and gold. 15Solomon made 200 large shields, each of which was covered with about seven kilogrammes of beaten gold, 16and 300 smaller shields, each covered with about three kilogrammes of beaten gold. He had them all placed in the Hall of the Forest of Lebanon.

17The king also had a large throne made. Part of it was covered with ivory and the rest of it was covered with pure gold. 18Six steps led up to the throne, and there was a footstool attached to it, covered with gold. There were arms on each side of the throne, and the figure of a lion stood at each side. 19Twelve figures of lions were on the steps, one at either end of each step. No throne like this had ever existed in any other kingdom.

20All King Solomon's cups were made of gold, and all the utensils in the Hall of the Forest of Lebanon were of pure gold. Silver was not considered valuable in Solomon's day. 21He had a fleet of ocean-going ships sailing with King Hiram's fleet. Every three years his fleet would return, bringing gold, silver, ivory, apes, and monkeys.

22King Solomon was richer and wiser than any other king in the world. 23They all consulted him, to hear the wisdom that God had given him. 24Each of them brought Solomon gifts — articles of silver and gold, robes, weapons, spices, horses, and mules. This continued year after year.

25King Solomon also had 4,000 stalls for his chariots and horses, and had 12,000 cavalry horses. Some of them he kept in Jerusalem and the rest he stationed in various other cities. 26He was supreme ruler of all the kings in the territory from the River Euphrates to Philistia and the Egyptian border. 27During his reign silver was as common in Jerusalem as stone, and cedar was as plentiful as ordinary sycomore in the foothills of Judah. 28Solomon imported horses from Musri and from every other country.

Summary of Solomon's Reign

(1 Kgs 11.41–43)

29The rest of the history of Solomon from beginning to end is recorded in The History of Nathan the Prophet, in The Prophecy of Ahijah of Shiloh, and in The Visions of Iddo the Prophet, which also deal with the reign of King Jeroboam of Israel. 30Solomon ruled in Jerusalem over all Israel for forty years. 31He died and was buried in David's City, and his son Rehoboam succeeded him as king.

2 Chronicles 9GNBOpen in Bible reader

The Northern Tribes Revolt

(1 Kgs 12.1–20)

1Rehoboam went to Shechem, where all the people of northern Israel had gathered to make him king. 2When Jeroboam son of Nebat, who had gone to Egypt to escape from King Solomon, heard this news, he returned home. 3The people of the northern tribes sent for him, and they all went together to Rehoboam and said to him, 4“Your father placed heavy burdens on us. If you make these burdens lighter and make life easier for us, we will be your loyal subjects.”

5Rehoboam replied, “Give me three days to consider the matter. Then come back.” So the people left.

6King Rehoboam consulted the older men who had served as his father Solomon's advisers. “What answer do you advise me to give these people?” he asked.

7They replied, “If you are kind to these people and try to please them by giving a considerate answer, they will always serve you loyally.”

8But he ignored the advice of the older men and went instead to the young men who had grown up with him and who were now his advisers. 9“What do you advise me to do?” he asked. “What shall I say to the people who are asking me to make their burdens lighter?”

10They replied, “This is what you should tell them: ‘My little finger is thicker than my father's waist.’ 11Tell them, ‘My father placed heavy burdens on you; I will make them even heavier. He beat you with a whip; I'll flog you with a horsewhip!’ ”

12Three days later Jeroboam and all the people returned to King Rehoboam, as he had instructed them. 13The king ignored the advice of the older men and spoke harshly to the people, 14as the younger men had advised. He said, “My father placed heavy burdens on you; I will make them even heavier. He beat you with a whip; I'll flog you with a horsewhip!” 15It was the will of the LORD God to bring about what he had spoken to Jeroboam son of Nebat through the prophet Ahijah from Shiloh. This is why the king did not pay any attention to the people.

16When the people saw that the king would not listen to them, they shouted, “Down with David and his family! What have they ever done for us? People of Israel, let's go home! Let Rehoboam look out for himself!”

So the people of Israel rebelled, 17leaving Rehoboam as king only of the people who lived in the territory of Judah.

18Then King Rehoboam sent Adoniram, who was in charge of the forced labour, to go to the Israelites, but they stoned him to death. At this, Rehoboam hurriedly got into his chariot and escaped to Jerusalem. 19Ever since that time the people of the northern kingdom of Israel have been in rebellion against the dynasty of David.

2 Chronicles 10GNBOpen in Bible reader

A Prayer of Thanksgiving

1I praise you, LORD, because you have saved me

and kept my enemies from gloating over me.

2I cried to you for help, O LORD my God,

and you healed me;

3you kept me from the grave.

I was on my way to the depths below,

but you restored my life.

4Sing praise to the LORD,

all his faithful people!

Remember what the Holy One has done,

and give him thanks!

5His anger lasts only a moment,

his goodness for a lifetime.

Tears may flow in the night,

but joy comes in the morning.

6I felt secure and said to myself,

“I will never be defeated.”

7You were good to me, LORD;

you protected me like a mountain fortress.

But then you hid yourself from me,

and I was afraid.

8I called to you, LORD;

I begged for your help:

9“What will you gain from my death?

What profit from my going to the grave?

Are dead people able to praise you?

Can they proclaim your unfailing goodness?

10Hear me, LORD, and be merciful!

Help me, LORD!”

11You have changed my sadness into a joyful dance;

you have taken away my sorrow

and surrounded me with joy.

12So I will not be silent;

I will sing praise to you.

LORD, you are my God,

I will give you thanks for ever.

Bible Society of South Africav.4.16.20
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