Study Guide

1 Kings Chapter 8

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Chapter 8

The Hottest Ticket In Town: Temple Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony

  • With everything in place at the temple, it's ready to become the home of the Ark of the Covenant, which holds the two stone tablets upon which the Ten Commandments are written.
  • Solomon holds a feast for all the Israelites at the temple in celebration of its completion. There are so many people there, they don't even try to count them.
  • The festival lasts seven days, and people from far and wide—from Lebo-hamath to Egypt— participate.
  • To kick off the dedication ceremony, the elders and priests carry the Ark into the most holy place of the temple.
  • When they come back out, "a cloud filled the house of the Lord […] for the glory of the Lord filled [his] house" (8:10-11).
  • Solomon speaks to God, presenting the temple to him: "I have built you an exalted house, a place for you to dwell in for ever" (8:13).
  • He turns to face the gathered Israelites, who all stand.
  • Solomon gives a short speech, saying (basically):
  • "Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, who has kept the promise he made to my father David (8:15). He wanted to build a house for God, but God told him, 'Although that's a good desire, it won't be you that builds me a house, but rather your son' (8:17-19). And the Lord has kept that promise today. Now that I sit on the throne of Israel, I built this house in God's name as a place for the Ark, which contains the covenant that he made with our ancestors when he brought them out of Egypt" (8:20-21).
  • Solomon then goes and kneels at the altar of the temple, spreads his hands to heaven, and offers a prayer (hang onto your hats—it's a long one):
  • "O Lord, God of Israel, there is no God like you in heaven above or on earth beneath" (8:23). He goes on to praise God's faithfulness, and to ask him to keep his promise that David's successors will always be king as long as they mind their Ps and Qs (8:23-26).
  • Then Solomon asks, "But will God indeed dwell on earth? Even the highest heaven cannot contain you, much less this house that I have built!" (8:27).
  • He continues, "Please hear our prayers concerning this house, and forgive our sins, but condemn any who come to this altar unworthily (8:28-32)"
  • "When we're defeated in battle because we've turned away from you, but then we pray to you again in this place, please forgive us and help us defend our land" (8:33-34).
  • "When we cause you to stop the rain because of our sins, but then pray to you in this place once again, please forgive us and send rain again" (8:35-36).
  • "If a famine, blight, mildew, locusts, or caterpillars destroy our crops; or if we're suffering from sickness or plagues; or if our enemies attack our cities; or if anything bad happens to us, please hear the prayers that we send from this temple" (8:37-38).
  • "You know every human heart, so you know when to forgive, and when to help. And may we and our children always fear and honor you" (8:39-40).
  • "And when those who aren't part of Israel, but who hear about your power and come from a distant land to this place to pray to you, please answer their prayer, too, so the whole world can know that this is your house" (8:41-43).
  • "And help us when we go to war against our enemies, if we pray towards this house" (8:44).
  • "And if we sin against you—because we know everyone sins—and we're taken away captive to a faraway land, but then pray toward this temple for forgiveness, please cause our captives to treat us kindly" (8:46-50).
  • "Please open your eyes and ears to our pleas, because we are your chosen people" (8:51-53).
  • And that's the end of the prayer.
  • When Solomon's done, he gets up and gives another speech to Israel.
  • He praises God, and prays again that Israel will follow his rules so he will always help them to prosper, and so that all the peoples of the earth will know that "the Lord is God; there is no other" (8:55-60).
  • Finally, he concludes: "Therefore, devote yourselves completely to the Lord our God, walking in his statutes and keeping his commandments" (8:61).
  • To finish things off, Solomon sacrifices 22,000 oxen and 120,000 sheep to the Lord.
  • After all's said and done, they've dedicated the temple, and the court where it stood, and the surrounding altars and stuff, too.
  • Everyone goes home on the 8th day, "joyful and in good spirits because of the goodness that the Lord had shown to his servant David and to his people Israel" (8:66). It's just a guess, but they might've been pretty stoked to get a break from listening to Solomon talk, too.

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