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First Reading: 2 Chronicles Chapter 7 and 8
2 Chronicles 7
1 Now when Solomon had made an end of praying, the fire came down from heaven, and consumed the burnt-offering and the sacrifices; and the glory of Jehovah filled the house.
2 And the priests could not enter into the house of Jehovah, because the glory of Jehovah filled Jehovah's house.
3 And all the children of Israel looked on, when the fire came down, and the glory of Jehovah was upon the house; and they bowed themselves with their faces to the ground upon the pavement, and worshipped, and gave thanks unto Jehovah, `saying', For he is good; for his lovingkindness `endureth' for ever.
4 Then the king and all the people offered sacrifice before Jehovah.
5 And king Solomon offered a sacrifice of twenty and two thousand oxen, and a hundred and twenty thousand sheep. So the king and all the people dedicated the house of God.
6 And the priests stood, according to their offices; the Levites also with instruments of music of Jehovah, which David the king had made to give thanks unto Jehovah, (for his lovingkindness `endureth' for ever,) when David praised by their ministry: and the priests sounded trumpets before them; and all Israel stood.
7 Moreover Solomon hallowed the middle of the court that was before the house of Jehovah; for there he offered the burnt-offerings, and the fat of the peace-offerings, because the brazen altar which Solomon had made was not able to receive the burnt-offering, and the meal-offering, and the fat.
8 So Solomon held the feast at that time seven days, and all Israel with him, a very great assembly, from the entrance of Hamath unto the brook of Egypt.
9 And on the eighth day they held a solemn assembly: for they kept the dedication of the altar seven days, and the feast seven days.
10 And on the three and twentieth day of the seventh month he sent the people away unto their tents, joyful and glad of heart for the goodness that Jehovah had showed unto David, and to Solomon, and to Israel his people.
11 Thus Solomon finished the house of Jehovah, and the king's house: and all that came into Solomon's heart to make in the house of Jehovah, and in his own house, he prosperously effected.
12 And Jehovah appeared to Solomon by night, and said unto him, I have heard thy prayer, and have chosen this place to myself for a house of sacrifice.
13 If I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or if I command the locust to devour the land, or if I send pestilence among my people;
14 if my people, who are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.
15 Now mine eyes shall be open, and mine ears attent, unto the prayer that is made in this place.
16 For now have I chosen and hallowed this house, that my name may be there for ever; and mine eyes and my heart shall be there perpetually.
17 And as for thee, if thou wilt walk before me as David thy father walked, and do according to all that I have commanded thee, and wilt keep my statutes and mine ordinances;
18 then I will establish the throne of thy kingdom, according as I covenanted with David thy father, saying, There shall not fail thee a man to be ruler in Israel.
19 But if ye turn away, and forsake my statutes and my commandments which I have set before you, and shall go and serve other gods, and worship them;
20 then will I pluck them up by the roots out of my land which I have given them; and this house, which I have hallowed for my name, will I cast out of my sight, and I will make it a proverb and a byword among all peoples.
21 And this house, which is so high, every one that passeth by it shall be astonished, and shall say, Why hath Jehovah done thus unto this land, and to this house?
22 And they shall answer, Because they forsook Jehovah, the God of their fathers, who brought them forth out of the land of Egypt, and laid hold on other gods, and worshipped them, and served them: therefore hath he brought all this evil upon them.
2 Chronicles 8
1 And it came to pass at the end of twenty years, wherein Solomon had built the house of Jehovah, and his own house,
2 that the cities which Huram had given to Solomon, Solomon built them, and caused the children of Israel to dwell there.
3 And Solomon went to Hamath-zobah, and prevailed against it.
4 And he built Tadmor in the wilderness, and all the store-cities, which he built in Hamath.
5 Also he built Beth-horon the upper, and Beth-horon the nether, fortified cities, with walls, gates, and bars;
6 and Baalath, and all the store-cities that Solomon had, and all the cities for his chariots, and the cities for his horsemen, and all that Solomon desired to build for his pleasure in Jerusalem, and in Lebanon, and in all the land of his dominion.
7 As for all the people that were left of the Hittites, and the Amorites, and the Perizzites, and the Hivites, and the Jebusites, that were not of Israel;
8 of their children that were left after them in the land, whom the children of Israel consumed not, of them did Solomon raise a levy `of bondservants' unto this day.
9 But of the children of Israel did Solomon make no servants for his work; but they were men of war, and chief of his captains, and rulers of his chariots and of his horsemen.
10 And these were the chief officers of king Solomon, even two hundred and fifty, that bare rule over the people.
11 And Solomon brought up the daughter of Pharaoh out of the city of David unto the house that he had built for her; for he said, My wife shall not dwell in the house of David king of Israel, because the places are holy, whereunto the ark of Jehovah hath come.
12 Then Solomon offered burnt-offerings unto Jehovah on the altar of Jehovah, which he had built before the porch,
13 even as the duty of every day required, offering according to the commandment of Moses, on the sabbaths, and on the new moons, and on the set feasts, three times in the year, `even' in the feast of unleavened bread, and in the feast of weeks, and in the feast of tabernacles.
14 And he appointed, according to the ordinance of David his father, the courses of the priests to their service, and the Levites to their offices, to praise, and to minister before the priests, as the duty of every day required; the doorkeepers also by their courses at every gate: for so had David the man of God commanded.
15 And they departed not from the commandment of the king unto the priests and Levites concerning any matter, or concerning the treasures.
16 Now all the work of Solomon was prepared unto the day of the foundation of the house of Jehovah, and until it was finished. `So' the house of Jehovah was completed.
17 Then went Solomon to Ezion-geber, and to Eloth, on the seashore in the land of Edom.
18 And Huram sent him by the hands of his servants ships, and servants that had knowledge of the sea; and they came with the servants of Solomon to Ophir, and fetched from thence four hundred and fifty talents of gold, and brought them to king Solomon.
Second Reading: Psalms Chapter 112 and 113
1 Praise ye Jehovah. Blessed is the man that feareth Jehovah, That delighteth greatly in his commandments.
2 His seed shall be mighty upon earth: The generation of the upright shall be blessed.
3 Wealth and riches are in his house; And his righteousness endureth for ever.
4 Unto the upright there ariseth light in the darkness: `He is' gracious, and merciful, and righteous.
5 Well is it with the man that dealeth graciously and lendeth; He shall maintain his cause in judgment.
6 For he shall never be moved; The righteous shall be had in everlasting remembrance.
7 He shall not be afraid of evil tidings: His heart is fixed, trusting in Jehovah.
8 His heart is established, he shall not be afraid, Until he see `his desire' upon his adversaries.
9 He hath dispersed, he hath given to the needy; His righteousness endureth for ever: His horn shall be exalted with honor.
10 The wicked shall see it, and be grieved; He shall gnash with his teeth, and melt away: The desire of the wicked shall perish.
1 Praise ye Jehovah. Praise, O ye servants of Jehovah, Praise the name of Jehovah.
2 Blessed be the name of Jehovah From this time forth and for evermore.
3 From the rising of the sun unto the going down of the same Jehovah's name is to be praised.
4 Jehovah is high above all nations, And his glory above the heavens.
5 Who is like unto Jehovah our God, That hath his seat on high,
6 That humbleth himself to behold `The things that are' in heaven and in the earth?
7 He raiseth up the poor out of the dust, And lifteth up the needy from the dunghill;
8 That he may set him with princes, Even with the princes of his people.
9 He maketh the barren woman to keep house, `And to be' a joyful mother of children. Praise ye Jehovah.
INFAMOUS PEOPLE OF THE BIBLE
Nebuchadnezzar (Nebo the Mighty) is encountered in the Bible several times. He is the king of Babylon (Chaldea) at the time that Judah is taken captive by the Babylonians. Daniel was among the Hebrew captives that were taken to Babylon and served in Nebuchadnezzar's palace as one of the wise men. In Daniel 2 the story of Nebuchadnezzar's dream of the large image is recounted. It was Nebuchadnezzar who had an image of gold made and ordered everyone to worship it. When Daniel's three friends, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego, failed to do so, they were thrown into the fiery furnace only to be saved by God's angel.
Nebuchadnezzar raised his kingdom and city to the greatest splendor; the marvelous hanging gardens are ascribed to him, erected to please Amytis, his queen, by imitating the groves of her native country, Media. He died in B.C. 562, after reigning forty years. He was succeeded by Belshazzar, his grandson.
Even Nebuchadnezzar recognized that God is most high:
At the end of that time, I, Nebuchadnezzar, raised my eyes toward heaven, and my sanity was restored. Then I praised the Most High; I honored and glorified him who lives forever. His dominion is an eternal dominion; his kingdom endures from generation to generation. All the peoples of the earth are regarded as nothing. He does as he pleases with the powers of heaven and the peoples of the earth. No one can hold back his hand At the same time that my sanity was restored, my honor and splendor were returned to me for the glory of my kingdom. My advisers and nobles sought me out, and I was restored to my throne and became even greater than before. Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and exalt and glorify the King of heaven, because everything he does is right and all his ways are just. And those who walk in pride he is able to humble. Daniel 4:34-37 (NIV)
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