The Word Made Fresh
1When the work was finished on the house of the LORD as Solomon directed, he brought in the things David his father had dedicated to the LORD and stored all the silver and gold and all the vessels in the treasuries of the LORD’s house.
2Then Solomon summoned the elders of Israel, the tribal heads, the head of the ancestral houses of the people to Jerusalem to bring the covenant chest of the LORD out of Zion, the city of David. 3They gathered before the king at the festival that is observed in the seventh month. 4They all came, and the Levites carried the covenant chest. 5They brought it, along with the meeting tent and the sacred vessels in it. The priests and Levites carried them. 6King Solomon and the people of Israel who were gathered with him sacrificed so many sheep and oxen that they couldn’t be counted. 7The priests brought the covenant chest to its place in the inner sanctuary of the temple beneath the wings of the cherubim. 8The cherubim’s wings spread over the covenant chest and carrying poles, 9which were so long that the ends of the poles could be seen from the sacred place in front of the inner sanctuary (but could not be seen from outside). They are still there. 10The covenant chest contained only the two tablets placed there by Moses where the LORD met with the people of Israel after they had escaped from Egypt.
11Then the priests exited the sacred room. All of them in every section had purified themselves, 12and all the Levite choristers, Asaph, Heman, and Jeduthun, with their sons and relatives, clothed in fine linen and carrying cymbals, harps, and lyres, gathered on the east side of the altar with one hundred twenty other priests with trumpets. 13The trumpeters and singers performed in unison and made themselves heard in praise and thanksgiving to the LORD, and when the song was raised with trumpets and cymbals and other instruments, singing “For the LORD is good! The LORD’s steadfast love endures forever!” the temple of the LORD was filled with a cloud 14and the priests could no longer perform because of it, for the glory of the LORD filled the temple.
1: The temple is completed and Solomon stores what is left of the gold and silver that David had accumulated in the temple treasuries.
2-10: The covenant chest is brought into the temple and placed in the most holy place, the inner sanctuary, beneath the wings of the giant cherubim. The Levites carry the chest while Solomon and the people sacrifice countless sheep and oxen to consecrate the way. The poles used to carry it are said to be so long that they can be seen from inside the outer part of the sanctuary “to this day,” which is curious since Nebuchadnezzar burned the temple down at the time of the exile to Babylon (2 Chronicles 36:19, and see Ezra 1:3). This passage is an almost verbatim copy of 1 Kings 8:1-11.
Note that the festival begins in the “seventh month,” but this does not mean that Solomon completed the temple in five months (see 2 Chronicles 3:2, where the construction begins in the “second month”). We learn later that it took twenty years to build the temple and the king’s palace, so the project took up a large share of Solomon’s reign (see 2 Chronicles 8:1).
11-14: The priests who carry the ark come out of the most holy place and take up their station with the other priests who are singing praise to God and playing various musical instruments. Once again, to draw a parallel to Israel’s wilderness wanderings during the time of Moses, the chronicler tells us that the temple is filled with a cloud such that the priests cannot perform their work (see Exodus 40:34-35).
The temple is dedicated with much fanfare, and Solomon must certainly be pleased with having carried out his father’s wishes that the LORD’s house be built. In 2 Chronicles this will be Solomon’s crowning achievement, and nothing will be said about his less honorable deeds, in keeping with the chronicler’s presentation of David’s faultless reign.