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First Reading: 1 Kings Chapter 7 and 8
1 Kings 7
7:1 It took Solomon thirteen years, however, to complete the construction of
his palace. 2 He built the Palace of the Forest of Lebanon a hundred cubits
long, fifty wide and thirty high, with four rows of cedar columns supporting
trimmed cedar beams. 3 It was roofed with cedar above the beams that rested
on the columns-forty-five beams, fifteen to a row. 4 Its windows were placed
high in sets of three, facing each other. 5 All the doorways had rectangular
frames; they were in the front part in sets of three, facing each other.
6 He made a colonnade fifty cubits long and thirty wide. In front of it was a portico, and in front of that were pillars and an overhanging roof.
7 He built the throne hall, the Hall of Justice, where he was to judge, and he covered it with cedar from floor to ceiling. 8 And the palace in which he was to live, set farther back, was similar in design. Solomon also made a palace like this hall for Pharaoh's daughter, whom he had married.
9 All these structures, from the outside to the great courtyard and from foundation to eaves, were made of blocks of high-grade stone cut to size and trimmed with a saw on their inner and outer faces. 10 The foundations were laid with large stones of good quality, some measuring ten cubits and some eight. 11 Above were high-grade stones, cut to size, and cedar beams. 12 The great courtyard was surrounded by a wall of three courses of dressed stone and one course of trimmed cedar beams, as was the inner courtyard of the temple of the LORD with its portico.
13 King Solomon sent to Tyre and brought Huram, 14 whose mother was a widow from the tribe of Naphtali and whose father was a man of Tyre and a craftsman in bronze. Huram was highly skilled and experienced in all kinds of bronze work. He came to King Solomon and did all the work assigned to him.
15 He cast two bronze pillars, each eighteen cubits high and twelve cubits around, by line. 16 He also made two capitals of cast bronze to set on the tops of the pillars; each capital was five cubits high. 17 A network of interwoven chains festooned the capitals on top of the pillars, seven for each capital. 18 He made pomegranates in two rows encircling each network to decorate the capitals on top of the pillars. He did the same for each capital. 19 The capitals on top of the pillars in the portico were in the shape of lilies, four cubits high. 20 On the capitals of both pillars, above the bowl-shaped part next to the network, were the two hundred pomegranates in rows all around. 21 He erected the pillars at the portico of the temple. The pillar to the south he named Jakin and the one to the north Boaz. 22 The capitals on top were in the shape of lilies. And so the work on the pillars was completed.
23 He made the Sea of cast metal, circular in shape, measuring ten cubits from rim to rim and five cubits high. It took a line of thirty cubits to measure around it. 24 Below the rim, gourds encircled it-ten to a cubit. The gourds were cast in two rows in one piece with the Sea.
25 The Sea stood on twelve bulls, three facing north, three facing west, three facing south and three facing east. The Sea rested on top of them, and their hindquarters were toward the center. 26 It was a handbreadth in thickness, and its rim was like the rim of a cup, like a lily blossom. It held two thousand baths.
27 He also made ten movable stands of bronze; each was four cubits long, four wide and three high. 28 This is how the stands were made: They had side panels attached to uprights. 29 On the panels between the uprights were lions, bulls and cherubim-and on the uprights as well. Above and below the lions and bulls were wreaths of hammered work. 30 Each stand had four bronze wheels with bronze axles, and each had a basin resting on four supports, cast with wreaths on each side. 31 On the inside of the stand there was an opening that had a circular frame one cubit deep. This opening was round, and with its basework it measured a cubit and a half. Around its opening there was engraving. The panels of the stands were square, not round. 32 The four wheels were under the panels, and the axles of the wheels were attached to the stand. The diameter of each wheel was a cubit and a half. 33 The wheels were made like chariot wheels; the axles, rims, spokes and hubs were all of cast metal.
34 Each stand had four handles, one on each corner, projecting from the stand. 35 At the top of the stand there was a circular band half a cubit deep. The supports and panels were attached to the top of the stand. 36 He engraved cherubim, lions and palm trees on the surfaces of the supports and on the panels, in every available space, with wreaths all around. 37 This is the way he made the ten stands. They were all cast in the same molds and were identical in size and shape.
38 He then made ten bronze basins, each holding forty baths and measuring four cubits across, one basin to go on each of the ten stands. 39 He placed five of the stands on the south side of the temple and five on the north. He placed the Sea on the south side, at the southeast corner of the temple. 40 He also made the basins and shovels and sprinkling bowls.
So Huram finished all the work he had undertaken for King Solomon in the temple of the LORD:
41 the two pillars; the two bowl-shaped capitals on top of the pillars; the two sets of network decorating the two bowl-shaped capitals on top of the pillars; 42 the four hundred pomegranates for the two sets of network (two rows of pomegranates for each network, decorating the bowl-shaped capitals on top of the pillars); 43 the ten stands with their ten basins;
44 the Sea and the twelve bulls under it;
45 the pots, shovels and sprinkling bowls.
All these objects that Huram made for King Solomon for the temple of the LORD were of burnished bronze. 46 The king had them cast in clay molds in the plain of the Jordan between Succoth and Zarethan. 47 Solomon left all these things unweighed, because there were so many; the weight of the bronze was not determined.
48 Solomon also made all the furnishings that were in the LORD's temple:
the golden altar; the golden table on which was the bread of the Presence; 49 the lampstands of pure gold (five on the right and five on the left, in front of the inner sanctuary); the gold floral work and lamps and tongs; 50 the pure gold basins, wick trimmers, sprinkling bowls, dishes and censers; and the gold sockets for the doors of the innermost room, the Most Holy Place, and also for the doors of the main hall of the temple.
51 When all the work King Solomon had done for the temple of the LORD was finished, he brought in the things his father David had dedicated-the silver and gold and the furnishings-and he placed them in the treasuries of the LORD's temple.
1 Kings 8
8:1 Then King Solomon summoned into his presence at Jerusalem the elders of
Israel, all the heads of the tribes and the chiefs of the Israelite families,
to bring up the ark of the LORD's covenant from Zion, the City of David. 2 All
the men of Israel came together to King Solomon at the time of the festival
in the month of Ethanim, the seventh month.
3 When all the elders of Israel had arrived, the priests took up the ark, 4 and they brought up the ark of the LORD and the Tent of Meeting and all the sacred furnishings in it. The priests and Levites carried them up, 5 and King Solomon and the entire assembly of Israel that had gathered about him were before the ark, sacrificing so many sheep and cattle that they could not be recorded or counted.
6 The priests then brought the ark of the LORD's covenant to its place in the inner sanctuary of the temple, the Most Holy Place, and put it beneath the wings of the cherubim. 7 The cherubim spread their wings over the place of the ark and overshadowed the ark and its carrying poles. 8 These poles were so long that their ends could be seen from the Holy Place in front of the inner sanctuary, but not from outside the Holy Place; and they are still there today. 9 There was nothing in the ark except the two stone tablets that Moses had placed in it at Horeb, where the LORD made a covenant with the Israelites after they came out of Egypt.
10 When the priests withdrew from the Holy Place, the cloud filled the temple of the LORD. 11 And the priests could not perform their service because of the cloud, for the glory of the LORD filled his temple.
12 Then Solomon said, "The LORD has said that he would dwell in a dark cloud; 13 I have indeed built a magnificent temple for you, a place for you to dwell forever."
14 While the whole assembly of Israel was standing there, the king turned around and blessed them. 15 Then he said:
"Praise be to the LORD, the God of Israel, who with his own hand has fulfilled what he promised with his own mouth to my father David. For he said, 16'Since the day I brought my people Israel out of Egypt, I have not chosen a city in any tribe of Israel to have a temple built for my Name to be there, but I have chosen David to rule my people Israel.' 17 "My father David had it in his heart to build a temple for the Name of the LORD, the God of Israel. 18 But the LORD said to my father David, 'Because it was in your heart to build a temple for my Name, you did well to have this in your heart. 19 Nevertheless, you are not the one to build the temple, but your son, who is your own flesh and blood-he is the one who will build the temple for my Name.' 20 "The LORD has kept the promise he made: I have succeeded David my father and now I sit on the throne of Israel, just as the LORD promised, and I have built the temple for the Name of the LORD, the God of Israel. 21 I have provided a place there for the ark, in which is the covenant of the LORD that he made with our fathers when he brought them out of Egypt."
22 Then Solomon stood before the altar of the LORD in front of the whole assembly of Israel, spread out his hands toward heaven 23 and said:
"O LORD, God of Israel, there is no God like you in heaven above or on earth below-you who keep your covenant of love with your servants who continue wholeheartedly in your way. 24 You have kept your promise to your servant David my father; with your mouth you have promised and with your hand you have fulfilled it-as it is today. 25 "Now LORD, God of Israel, keep for your servant David my father the promises you made to him when you said, 'You shall never fail to have a man to sit before me on the throne of Israel, if only your sons are careful in all they do to walk before me as you have done.' 26 And now, O God of Israel, let your word that you promised your servant David my father come true. 27 "But will God really dwell on earth? The heavens, even the highest heaven, cannot contain you. How much less this temple I have built! 28 Yet give attention to your servant's prayer and his plea for mercy, O LORD my God. Hear the cry and the prayer that your servant is praying in your presence this day. 29 May your eyes be open toward this temple night and day, this place of which you said, 'My Name shall be there,' so that you will hear the prayer your servant prays toward this place. 30 Hear the supplication of your servant and of your people Israel when they pray toward this place. Hear from heaven, your dwelling place, and when you hear, forgive. 31 "When a man wrongs his neighbor and is required to take an oath and he comes and swears the oath before your altar in this temple, 32 then hear from heaven and act. Judge between your servants, condemning the guilty and bringing down on his own head what he has done. Declare the innocent not guilty, and so establish his innocence. 33 "When your people Israel have been defeated by an enemy because they have sinned against you, and when they turn back to you and confess your name, praying and making supplication to you in this temple, 34 then hear from heaven and forgive the sin of your people Israel and bring them back to the land you gave to their fathers. 35 "When the heavens are shut up and there is no rain because your people have sinned against you, and when they pray toward this place and confess your name and turn from their sin because you have afflicted them, 36 then hear from heaven and forgive the sin of your servants, your people Israel. Teach them the right way to live, and send rain on the land you gave your people for an inheritance. 37 "When famine or plague comes to the land, or blight or mildew, locusts or grasshoppers, or when an enemy besieges them in any of their cities, whatever disaster or disease may come, 38 and when a prayer or plea is made by any of your people Israel-each one aware of the afflictions of his own heart, and spreading out his hands toward this temple- 39 then hear from heaven, your dwelling place. Forgive and act; deal with each man according to all he does, since you know his heart (for you alone know the hearts of all men), 40 so that they will fear you all the time they live in the land you gave our fathers. 41 "As for the foreigner who does not belong to your people Israel but has come from a distant land because of your name- 42 for men will hear of your great name and your mighty hand and your outstretched arm-when he comes and prays toward this temple, 43 then hear from heaven, your dwelling place, and do whatever the foreigner asks of you, so that all the peoples of the earth may know your name and fear you, as do your own people Israel, and may know that this house I have built bears your Name. 44 "When your people go to war against their enemies, wherever you send them, and when they pray to the LORD toward the city you have chosen and the temple I have built for your Name, 45 then hear from heaven their prayer and their plea, and uphold their cause. 46 "When they sin against you-for there is no one who does not sin-and you become angry with them and give them over to the enemy, who takes them captive to his own land, far away or near; 47 and if they have a change of heart in the land where they are held captive, and repent and plead with you in the land of their conquerors and say, 'We have sinned, we have done wrong, we have acted wickedly'; 48 and if they turn back to you with all their heart and soul in the land of their enemies who took them captive, and pray to you toward the land you gave their fathers, toward the city you have chosen and the temple I have built for your Name; 49 then from heaven, your dwelling place, hear their prayer and their plea, and uphold their cause. 50 And forgive your people, who have sinned against you; forgive all the offenses they have committed against you, and cause their conquerors to show them mercy; 51 for they are your people and your inheritance, whom you brought out of Egypt, out of that iron-smelting furnace. 52 "May your eyes be open to your servant's plea and to the plea of your people Israel, and may you listen to them whenever they cry out to you. 53 For you singled them out from all the nations of the world to be your own inheritance, just as you declared through your servant Moses when you, O Sovereign LORD, brought our fathers out of Egypt."
54 When Solomon had finished all these prayers and supplications to the LORD, he rose from before the altar of the LORD, where he had been kneeling with his hands spread out toward heaven. 55 He stood and blessed the whole assembly of Israel in a loud voice, saying:
56 "Praise be to the LORD, who has given rest to his people Israel just as he promised. Not one word has failed of all the good promises he gave through his servant Moses. 57 May the LORD our God be with us as he was with our fathers; may he never leave us nor forsake us. 58 May he turn our hearts to him, to walk in all his ways and to keep the commands, decrees and regulations he gave our fathers. 59 And may these words of mine, which I have prayed before the LORD, be near to the LORD our God day and night, that he may uphold the cause of his servant and the cause of his people Israel according to each day's need, 60 so that all the peoples of the earth may know that the LORD is God and that there is no other. 61 But your hearts must be fully committed to the LORD our God, to live by his decrees and obey his commands, as at this time."
62 Then the king and all Israel with him offered sacrifices before the LORD. 63 Solomon offered a sacrifice of fellowship offerings to the LORD: twenty-two thousand cattle and a hundred and twenty thousand sheep and goats. So the king and all the Israelites dedicated the temple of the LORD.
64 On that same day the king consecrated the middle part of the courtyard in front of the temple of the LORD, and there he offered burnt offerings, grain offerings and the fat of the fellowship offerings, because the bronze altar before the LORD was too small to hold the burnt offerings, the grain offerings and the fat of the fellowship offerings.
65 So Solomon observed the festival at that time, and all Israel with him-a vast assembly, people from Lebo Hamath to the Wadi of Egypt. They celebrated it before the LORD our God for seven days and seven days more, fourteen days in all. 66 On the following day he sent the people away. They blessed the king and then went home, joyful and glad in heart for all the good things the LORD had done for his servant David and his people Israel.
89:1 A maskil of Ethan the Ezrahite.
I will sing of the LORD's great love forever;with my mouth I will make your
faithfulness known through all generations. 2 I will declare that your love
stands firm forever,that you established your faithfulness in heaven itself.
3 You said, "I have made a covenant with my chosen one,I have sworn to David my servant, 4'I will establish your line forever and make your throne firm through all generations.'"Selah
5 The heavens praise your wonders, O LORD,your faithfulness too, in the assembly of the holy ones. 6 For who in the skies above can compare with the LORD?Who is like the LORD among the heavenly beings? 7 In the council of the holy ones God is greatly feared;he is more awesome than all who surround him. 8 O LORD God Almighty, who is like you?You are mighty, O LORD, and your faithfulness surrounds you.
9 You rule over the surging sea;when its waves mount up, you still them. 10 You crushed Rahab like one of the slain;with your strong arm you scattered your enemies. 11 The heavens are yours, and yours also the earth;you founded the world and all that is in it. 12 You created the north and the south;Tabor and Hermon sing for joy at your name. 13 Your arm is endued with power;your hand is strong, your right hand exalted.
14 Righteousness and justice are the foundation of your throne;love and faithfulness go before you. 15 Blessed are those who have learned to acclaim you,who walk in the light of your presence, O LORD. 16 They rejoice in your name all day long;they exult in your righteousness. 17 For you are their glory and strength,and by your favor you exalt our horn. 18 Indeed, our shield belongs to the LORD,our king to the Holy One of Israel.
19 Once you spoke in a vision,to your faithful people you said:"I have bestowed strength on a warrior;I have exalted a young man from among the people. 20 I have found David my servant;with my sacred oil I have anointed him. 21 My hand will sustain him;surely my arm will strengthen him. 22 No enemy will subject him to tribute;no wicked man will oppress him. 23 I will crush his foes before him and strike down his adversaries. 24 My faithful love will be with him,and through my name his horn will be exalted. 25 I will set his hand over the sea,his right hand over the rivers. 26 He will call out to me, 'You are my Father,my God, the Rock my Savior.' 27 I will also appoint him my firstborn,the most exalted of the kings of the earth. 28 I will maintain my love to him forever,and my covenant with him will never fail. 29 I will establish his line forever,his throne as long as the heavens endure.
30 "If his sons forsake my law and do not follow my statutes, 31 if they violate my decrees and fail to keep my commands, 32 I will punish their sin with the rod,their iniquity with flogging; 33 but I will not take my love from him,nor will I ever betray my faithfulness. 34 I will not violate my covenant or alter what my lips have uttered. 35 Once for all, I have sworn by my holiness and I will not lie to David 36 that his line will continue forever and his throne endure before me like the sun; 37 it will be established forever like the moon,the faithful witness in the sky."Selah
38 But you have rejected, you have spurned,you have been very angry with your anointed one. 39 You have renounced the covenant with your servant and have defiled his crown in the dust. 40 You have broken through all his walls and reduced his strongholds to ruins. 41 All who pass by have plundered him;he has become the scorn of his neighbors. 42 You have exalted the right hand of his foes;you have made all his enemies rejoice. 43 You have turned back the edge of his sword and have not supported him in battle. 44 You have put an end to his splendor and cast his throne to the ground. 45 You have cut short the days of his youth;you have covered him with a mantle of shame.Selah
46 How long, O LORD? Will you hide yourself forever?How long will your wrath burn like fire? 47 Remember how fleeting is my life.For what futility you have created all men! 48 What man can live and not see death,or save himself from the power of the grave?Selah 49 O Lord, where is your former great love,which in your faithfulness you swore to David? 50 Remember, Lord, how your servant has been mocked,how I bear in my heart the taunts of all the nations, 51 the taunts with which your enemies have mocked, O LORD,with which they have mocked every step of your anointed one.
52 Praise be to the LORD forever!Amen and Amen.
SUPER HEROES OF THE BIBLE
JOHN THE APOSTLE
John and James the sons of Zebedee were called by Jesus early in his ministry to be his disciples. John was one of the three who was with Jesus on the mountain when he was transfigured. It is believed to be John who speaks of himself as the disciple whom Jesus loved as he reclined next to Jesus at the last supper. It was John who raced with Peter to see the empty grave and it was John who was the first to recognize the risen Christ as they were fishing. John was inspired to write the Gospel of John and the three Letters of John. He also received the visions recorded in the book of Revelation. His writings concerning Jesus are filled with a theme of the love of God and the love of Jesus:
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