2 Chronicles 7

Solomon Dedicates the Temple

1When Solomon finished praying, fire came down from heaven
Or “the sky.” The Hebrew term שָׁמַיִם (shamayim) may be translated “heaven(s)” or “sky” depending on the context.
and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices, and the Lord’s splendor filled the temple.
2The priests were unable to enter the Lord’s temple because the Lord’s splendor filled the Lord’s temple. 3When 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,
The word “saying” is supplied in the translation for stylistic reasons.
“Certainly he is good; certainly his loyal love endures!”

4 The king and all the people were presenting sacrifices to the Lord. 5King Solomon sacrificed 22,000 cattle and 120,000 sheep. Then the king and all the people dedicated God’s temple. 6The priests stood in their assigned spots, along with the Levites who had the musical instruments used for praising the Lord.
Heb “and the priests were standing at their posts, and the Levites with the instruments of music of the Lord.”
(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.”)
Heb “which David the king made to give thanks to the Lord, for lasting is his loyal love, when David praised by them.”
Opposite the Levites,
Heb “opposite them”; the referent (the Levites) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
the priests were blowing the trumpets, while all Israel stood there.
7Solomon consecrated the middle of the courtyard that is in front of the Lord’s temple. He offered burnt sacrifices, grain offerings,
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 (veet-hamminkhah; vav [ו] + accusative sign + noun with article; “grain offerings”) was probably omitted accidentally by homoioarcton. Note the וְאֶת (veet) that immediately follows.
and the fat from the peace offerings there, because the bronze altar that Solomon had made was too small to hold all these offerings.
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.”
8At 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.
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.”
9On the eighth day they held an assembly, for they had dedicated the altar for seven days and celebrated the festival for seven more days. 10On the twenty-third day of the seventh month, Solomon
Heb “he”; the referent (Solomon) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
sent the people home. They left
The words “they left” are supplied in the translation for stylistic reasons.
happy and contented
Heb “good of heart.”
because of the good the Lord had done for David, Solomon, and his people Israel.

The Lord Gives Solomon a Promise and a Warning

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,
Heb “and all that entered the heart of Solomon to do in the house of the Lord and in his house he successfully accomplished.”
12the Lord appeared to Solomon at night and said to him: “I have answered
Heb “I have heard.”
your prayer and chosen this place to be my temple where sacrifices are to be made.
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.
Or “if.”
I close up the sky
Or “heavens.” The Hebrew term שָׁמַיִם (shamayim) may be translated “heaven(s)” or “sky” depending on the context.
so that it doesn’t rain, or command locusts to devour the land’s vegetation,
Heb “the land,” which stands here by metonymy for the vegetation growing in it.
or send a plague among my people,
14if my people, who belong to me,
Heb “over whom my name is called.” The Hebrew idiom “call the name over” indicates ownership. See 2 Sam 12:28.
humble themselves, pray, seek to please me,
Heb “seek my face,” where “my face” is figurative for God’s presence and acceptance.
and repudiate their sinful practices,
Heb “and turn from their sinful ways.”
then I will respond
Heb “hear.”
from heaven, forgive their sin, and heal their land.
Here the phrase heal their land means restore the damage done by the drought, locusts and plague mentioned in v. 13.
15Now I will be attentive and responsive to the prayers offered in this place.
Heb “my eyes will be open and my ears attentive to the prayer of this place.” Note Solomon’s request in 6:40.
16Now I have chosen and consecrated this temple by making it my permanent home;
Heb “for my name to be there perpetually [or perhaps, “forever”].”
I will be constantly present there.
Heb “and my eyes and my heart will be there all the days.”
17You must serve me as your father David did. Do everything I commanded and obey my rules and regulations.
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.”
Verse 17 is actually a lengthy protasis (“if” section) of a conditional sentence, the apodosis (“then” section) of which appears in v. 18.
18Then I will establish your dynasty,
Heb “I will establish the throne of your kingdom.”
just as I promised your father David, ‘You will not fail to have a successor ruling over Israel.’
Heb “there will not be cut off from you a man ruling over Israel.”

19 “But if you people
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.
ever turn away from me, fail to obey the regulations and rules I instructed you to keep,
Heb “which I placed before you.”
and decide to serve and worship other gods,
Heb “and walk and serve other gods and bow down to them.”
20then I will remove you
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.
from my land I have given you,
Heb “them.” See the note on “you” earlier in this verse.
I will abandon this temple I have consecrated with my presence,
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.
Heb “and this temple which I consecrated for my name I will throw away from before my face.”
and I will make you
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”).
an object of mockery and ridicule
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.
among all the nations.
21As for this temple, which was once majestic,
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.”
everyone who passes by it will be shocked and say, ‘Why did the Lord do this to this land and this temple?’
22Others will then answer,
Heb “and they will say.”
‘Because they abandoned the Lord God of their ancestors,
Heb “fathers.”
who led them out of Egypt. They embraced other gods whom they worshiped and served.
Heb “and they took hold of other gods and bowed down to them and served them.”
That is why he brought all this disaster down on them.’”

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