2 Chronicles Chapter 12

Rehoboam ruled over Judah and Benjamin, also known as the Southern Kingdom. At first, he dedicated his time to strengthening their cities and allowing the people to devote themselves to the Lord. Meanwhile, those in the Northern Kingdom, under Jeroboam, were quickly led away in idolatry and the ways of the world. This chapter begins with the following:

1 And it came to pass, when Rehoboam had established the kingdom, and had strengthened himself, he forsook the law of the Lord, and all Israel with him.
2 And it came to pass, that in the fifth year of king Rehoboam Shishak king of Egypt came up against Jerusalem, because they had transgressed against the Lord,
3 With twelve hundred chariots, and threescore thousand horsemen: and the people were without number that came with him out of Egypt; the Lubims, the Sukkiims, and the Ethiopians.
4 And he took the fenced cities which pertained to Judah, and came to Jerusalem.

Once his kingdom was established, and only five years into his reign, Rehoboam fell away from the Lord. As it has been with any leader who has forsaken the Lord, the people also fell away. As a result, God allowed the Egyptians under the leadership of Shishak the king, to come up against Jerusalem. The Egyptians had 12,000 chariots, 60,000 horsemen, and an massive army, which included Lubims, Sukkiims, and Ethiopians. (see also 1 Kings 14)

5 Then came Shemaiah the prophet to Rehoboam, and to the princes of Judah, that were gathered together to Jerusalem because of Shishak, and said unto them, Thus saith the Lord, Ye have forsaken me, and therefore have I also left you in the hand of Shishak.
6 Whereupon the princes of Israel and the king humbled themselves; and they said, The Lord is righteous.
7 And when the Lord saw that they humbled themselves, the word of the Lord came to Shemaiah, saying, They have humbled themselves; therefore I will not destroy them, but I will grant them some deliverance; and my wrath shall not be poured out upon Jerusalem by the hand of Shishak.
8 Nevertheless they shall be his servants; that they may know my service, and the service of the kingdoms of the countries.
9 So Shishak king of Egypt came up against Jerusalem, and took away the treasures of the house of the Lord, and the treasures of the king’s house; he took all: he carried away also the shields of gold which Solomon had made.
10 Instead of which king Rehoboam made shields of brass, and committed them to the hands of the chief of the guard, that kept the entrance of the king’s house.
11 And when the king entered into the house of the Lord, the guard came and fetched them, and brought them again into the guard chamber.
12 And when he humbled himself, the wrath of the Lord turned from him, that he would not destroy him altogether: and also in Judah things went well.

Shemaiah, the prophet, came again to Jerusalem, where Rehoboam and his princes were gathered together from their different cities. The prophet told them the word of the Lord, which was that God had allowed them to fall into the hands of Shishak because they forsook Him. In response to this message, the leaders were humbled and praised the Lord. Then, the prophet received a revelation again from God which told them because they had humbled themselves, they would not be destroyed by the Lord. The Lord would deliver them without the wrath His wrath allowing Shishak to overcome them. However, they would become his servants. Shishak and the Egyptians fought against Jerusalem, plundering it and taking away the treasures in the temple and those in the palace of Rehoboam. This included all the precious golden shields that had been made by Solomon. As a result, Rehoboam made shields of brass for his guards. When Rehoboam had humbled himself, God turned his wrath away from him and things began to go well in Judah.

13 So king Rehoboam strengthened himself in Jerusalem, and reigned: for Rehoboam was one and forty years old when he began to reign, and he reigned seventeen years in Jerusalem, the city which the Lord had chosen out of all the tribes of Israel, to put his name there. And his mother’s name was Naamah an Ammonitess.
14 And he did evil, because he prepared not his heart to seek the Lord.
15 Now the acts of Rehoboam, first and last, are they not written in the book of Shemaiah the prophet, and of Iddo the seer concerning genealogies? And there were wars between Rehoboam and Jeroboam continually.
16 And Rehoboam slept with his fathers, and was buried in the city of David: and Abijah his son reigned in his stead.

For the remainder of his reign, Rehoboam continued to strengthen his kingdom. He reigned in the chosen city of Jerusalem, for 17 years (approximately from the age of 41 to 58). He was not a righteous leader of the people of the Lord. The prophet Shemaiah and the seer Iddo, kept a record of the acts of Rehoboam. During this time, there was constant fighting between the two kingdoms of Israel. Then, Rehoboam died, and his son Abijah (also known as Abijam) became the king of Judah.

The effects of a leader who does evil, are damaging and can be lasting. For Rehoboam, his choices led his people away from their covenants and the safety of the promises they had. Modern revelation teaches, “I, the Lord, am bound when ye do what I say; but when ye do not what I say, ye have no promise.” (See Doctrine and Covenants 82:10) God is no respecter of persons and is also just. When he promised the Israelites that he would bless them with safety from other nations if they would follow His commandments, he kept that promise. Each time they fell away, the Lord allowed them to suffer without stepping in to protect them. Thankfully, they were not utterly destroyed because they had a prophet in their midst, who was able to call them to repentance. We live in a time of apostasy and wickedness today. The leaders we have, have the power to influence us away from God, or encourage us to Him. There are many striving to do right, but the world is increasingly seeking after worldliness and idols of all kinds. We need the protection of God’s loving hand to be with us, and the promises of God are for all men including us. In 2 Nephi 1:19-20 we read, “O my sons, that these things might not come upon you, but that ye might be a choice and a favored people of the Lord. But behold, his will be done; for his ways are righteousness forever. And he hath said that: Inasmuch as ye shall keep my commandments ye shall prosper in the land; but inasmuch as ye will not keep my commandments ye shall be cut off from my presence.” I am grateful for modern, living prophets who call us to repentance and lead us back to God and the safety of his commandments.

2 Chronicles Chapter 11

The kingdom of Israel followed after Jeroboam, when Rehoboam refused to ease their burdens. Rehoboam had fled back to Jerusalem from the city of Shechem, where he had become the king of the nation. The children of Israel were divided at this point, between the two leaders, which was a fulfillment of prophecy. The story of the division continues as follows:

1 And when Rehoboam was come to Jerusalem, he gathered of the house of Judah and Benjamin an hundred and fourscore thousand chosen men, which were warriors, to fight against Israel, that he might bring the kingdom again to Rehoboam.
2 But the word of the Lord came to Shemaiah the man of God, saying,
3 Speak unto Rehoboam the son of Solomon, king of Judah, and to all Israel in Judah and Benjamin, saying,
4 Thus saith the Lord, Ye shall not go up, nor fight against your brethren: return every man to his house: for this thing is done of me. And they obeyed the words of the Lord, and returned from going against Jeroboam.

Upon his arrival at Jerusalem, Rehoboam gathered the armies of Judah and Benjamin to fight against Israel and regain his kingdom. He had an army of 180,000 fighters. Shemaiah, a man of God, received a revelation from the Lord to go to King Rehoboam and tell him he was not to go against the rest of Israel in battle. The division of the kingdom was according to the will of the Lord and was to be let alone. Rehoboam and his men followed this command and returned to their homes. (see also 1 Kings 12)

It would not have made sense to lose men in any unnecessary fighting, because Israel would have become a weaker people with a civil war. As they destroyed one another, their enemies from without would have been able to conquer them. Rehoboam knew about the prophecy that told of the division between the ten tribes and the two he would be left to rule. He should have thought better of the choice he made as to how he would rule the nation, but lost the ten tribes through his decision to be a harsh ruler. At this point, he was left to live with the consequences promised by the Lord.

5 And Rehoboam dwelt in Jerusalem, and built cities for defence in Judah.
6 He built even Beth-lehem, and Etam, and Tekoa,
7 And Beth-zur, and Shoco, and Adullam,
8 And Gath, and Mareshah, and Ziph,
9 And Adoraim, and Lachish, and Azekah,
10 And Zorah, and Aijalon, and Hebron, which are in Judah and in Benjamin fenced cities.
11 And he fortified the strong holds, and put captains in them, and store of victual, and of oil and wine.
12 And in every several city he put shields and spears, and made them exceeding strong, having Judah and Benjamin on his side.

Instead of going after the right to rule the entire kingdom of Israel, Rehoboam turned his attention to strengthen Jerusalem. He built up many areas of defense and walled cities throughout the land of Benjamin and Judah. He fortified their strong holds, so that they would be exceedingly strong. The cities included some like Bethlehem, where the Savior would once day be born; Gath, the former Philistine city conquered by David; Lachish, which had been an Amorite city when the Israelites first came into the land; and Hebron, which was the city David had ruled from before Jerusalem. Rehoboam ruled over the people of the tribes and lands of Judah and Benjamin.

13 And the priests and the Levites that were in all Israel resorted to him out of all their coasts.
14 For the Levites left their suburbs and their possession, and came to Judah and Jerusalem: for Jeroboam and his sons had cast them off from executing the priest’s office unto the Lord:
15 And he ordained him priests for the high places, and for the devils, and for the calves which he had made.
16 And after them out of all the tribes of Israel such as set their hearts to seek the Lord God of Israel came to Jerusalem, to sacrifice unto the Lord God of their fathers.
17 So they strengthened the kingdom of Judah, and made Rehoboam the son of Solomon strong, three years: for three years they walked in the way of David and Solomon.

The Levites and priests of Israel, left their homes and belongings, and gathered to the land of Judah. They had taken sides with Rehoboam in Judah, because Jeroboam was no longer allowing them to perform their duties as priests of the Lord. These duties had mainly been to serve in the temple located in Jerusalem. Moreover, Jeroboam, who no longer had the temple in his midst, ordained his own priests for the places of worship in Israel. These false priests led the people of Israel into apostasy. Jeroboam made idols for his people to worship. However, those who desired to follow after God, left Israel and went to Jerusalem to worship and make sacrifices to the Lord. These people were a strength to Judah and Rehoboam for three years, while they followed after the ways of David and Solomon. (see 1 Kings 12 for more information)

18 And Rehoboam took him Mahalath the daughter of Jerimoth the son of David to wife, and Abihail the daughter of Eliab the son of Jesse;
19 Which bare him children; Jeush, and Shamariah, and Zaham.
20 And after her he took Maachah the daughter of Absalom; which bare him Abijah, and Attai, and Ziza, and Shelomith.
21 And Rehoboam loved Maachah the daughter of Absalom above all his wives and his concubines: (for he took eighteen wives, and threescore concubines; and begat twenty and eight sons, and threescore daughters.)
22 And Rehoboam made Abijah the son of Maachah the chief, to be ruler among his brethren: for he thought to make him king.
23 And he dealt wisely, and dispersed of all his children throughout all the countries of Judah and Benjamin, unto every fenced city: and he gave them victual in abundance. And he desired many wives.

Rehoboam began to marry several women, as his father had done, because he sought after many wives. He married Mahalath and Abihail, who had children named Jeush, Shamaria, and Zaham. Then, he married Maachah and they had children named Abijah, Attai, Ziza, and Shelomith. Maachah was the daughter of Absalom, the son of David who had conspired against his father and died. She was his favorite wife out of the eighteen wives and 60 concubines he eventually had. Rehoboam had 28 sons and 60 daughters in total. His son Abijah was made the leader of the children, because Rehoboam intended on making him the future king. In wisdom, Rehoboam sent his sons to rule over all the strongholds of Benjamin and Judah. They were provided for in abundance for their service to their father and king.

Freedom to worship as they please, is so important to people of faith. Jeroboam was concerned to lose the support of his people in the lands of Israel, so he tried to stop them from going to Jerusalem to worship as they pleased. He also built idols to give his people something they could worship, since he was taking their access to the temple from them. He quickly led the people of the ten tribes away from God and their covenants with Him. Meanwhile, those who lived in the lands of Benjamin and Judah, continued to have the opportunity to worship the Lord in his temple and with the proper authority of the priesthood. They had access the ability to make the commanded sacrifices and keep their covenants regularly. This must have been such a blessing to them and surely it strengthened the land as well. Times such as those in this chapter, as well as in our current day with all that is going on in the world, cause a deepening of the faith for some or an opportunity for many to choose to follow after the world. Those of the ten tribes quickly turned to the practices of the nations that surrounded them, because of their situation. In our own day, we must decide if we will be like those who chose to leave the world and draw closer to God and our covenants with him, or if we will follow after the ways of the world and forsake the Lord.

2 Chronicles Chapter 10

At the end of Solomon’s reign, the people of Israel had been serving with a heavy burden. There was hope for some change once His son, Rehoboam, was to become king. However, the people did not know what kind of king Rehoboam was going to be. (See also 1 Kings 12) This chapter begins:

1 And Rehoboam went to Shechem: for to Shechem were all Israel come to make him king.
2 And it came to pass, when Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who was in Egypt, whither he had fled from the presence of Solomon the king, heard it, that Jeroboam returned out of Egypt.
3 And they sent and called him. So Jeroboam and all Israel came and spake to Rehoboam, saying,
4 Thy father made our yoke grievous: now therefore ease thou somewhat the grievous servitude of thy father, and his heavy yoke that he put upon us, and we will serve thee.
5 And he said unto them, Come again unto me after three days. And the people departed.

As per tradition, as well as to ease tensions in the kingdom, Rehoboam went to Shechem to be made the king of Israel. Shechem was considered a sacred town, where father Jacob had purchased land. There was also a man of Ephraim named Jeroboam who was a former servant of Solomon. He was a mighty and industrious man who had been given charge over the house of Joseph by Solomon. During Solomon’s reign, the prophet Ahijah sought Jeroboam out and prophesied that the kingdom would be divided and ten of the tribes would be given to Jeroboam by the Lord. Solomon learned of this and tried to kill Jeroboam. Jeroboam fled into Egypt until the death of Solomon. When Jeroboam heard that Rehoboam was to be made king he decided to return to Israel. Jeroboam and the people of Israel gathered to Shechem, and spoke to Rehoboam about the burden that they had suffered to bear for Solomon. They said that if the burden was eased in some way they would serve him as their king. Rehoboam told them to return to him after three days, so they all went their way.

6 And king Rehoboam took counsel with the old men that had stood before Solomon his father while he yet lived, saying, What counsel give ye me to return answer to this people?
7 And they spake unto him, saying, If thou be kind to this people, and please them, and speak good words to them, they will be thy servants for ever.
8 But he forsook the counsel which the old men gave him, and took counsel with the young men that were brought up with him, that stood before him.
9 And he said unto them, What advice give ye that we may return answer to this people, which have spoken to me, saying, Ease somewhat the yoke that thy father did put upon us?
10 And the young men that were brought up with him spake unto him, saying, Thus shalt thou answer the people that spake unto thee, saying, Thy father made our yoke heavy, but make thou it somewhat lighter for us; thus shalt thou say unto them, My little finger shall be thicker than my father’s loins.
11 For whereas my father put a heavy yoke upon you, I will put more to your yoke: my father chastised you with whips, but I will chastise you with scorpions.
12 So Jeroboam and all the people came to Rehoboam on the third day, as the king bade, saying, Come again to me on the third day.
13 And the king answered them roughly; and king Rehoboam forsook the counsel of the old men,
14 And answered them after the advice of the young men, saying, My father made your yoke heavy, but I will add thereto: my father chastised you with whips, but I will chastise you with scorpions.
15 So the king hearkened not unto the people: for the cause was of God, that the Lord might perform his word, which he spake by the hand of Ahijah the Shilonite to Jeroboam the son of Nebat.

Rehoboam went to the men who had counseled his father, Solomon, and asked what they thought he should do. They told him that the people would serve him forever if he would show kindness to them. Not satisfied with their counsel, Rehoboam turned to the counsel of younger men of his own age. They told him to say that he would put a greater burden on them then Solomon had and punish them harsher than him as well. The people gathered again after three days, and he told them his response. He went with the counsel of his peers, and told them he would increase their burdens and their chastisements. This response was according to the prophecy of Ahijah that had been given to Jeroboam during Solomon’s reign.

16 And when all Israel saw that the king would not hearken unto them, the people answered the king, saying, What portion have we in David? and we have none inheritance in the son of Jesse: every man to your tents, O Israel: and now, David, see to thine own house. So all Israel went to their tents.
17 But as for the children of Israel that dwelt in the cities of Judah, Rehoboam reigned over them.
18 Then king Rehoboam sent Hadoram that was over the tribute; and the children of Israel stoned him with stones, that he died. But king Rehoboam made speed to get him up to his chariot, to flee to Jerusalem.
19 And Israel rebelled against the house of David unto this day.

In response to the king, the people returned to their homes with feelings of frustration convinced that they no longer had a place in the kingdom of David. Rehoboam reigned over those who lived in the cities of Judah. When Hadoram, the man in charge of collecting tribute, was sent out to the other parts of Israel, the people rebelled and stoned him. Rehoboam quickly fled to Jerusalem from Shechem. The people of Israel were then divided from house of David, and the Kingdom of Israel was no longer united.

It was wrong to think that power or strength comes from a stronger hand and greater burdens. People do not want to feel like slaves, they want to feel free. True power comes in serving those you rule. This is because a man who chooses to serve others, will have the power of God on his side. King Benjamin, a great king from the Book of Mormon, taught his people, “when ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God (see Mosiah 2).” It is amazing how much a group of people can thrive when given more freedom to choose what they will do with those things they work hard to earn. We have a desire born in our spirits, from before we were sent to this earth, that seeks for greater freedom. The people would have gladly served him if he had shown some compassion on them, but instead he managed to selfishly and immediately destroy the strength of his kingdom, and anger his subjects to the point of rebellion. This was the point of division in the children of Israel, that would lead to their future scattering and destruction.

2 Chronicles Chapter 9

As king of Israel, Solomon had built the temple and a palace for himself. He had also worked to build up cities, highways, and more. His success was known among the nations. He was truly blessed of the Lord. This chapter begins:

1 And when the queen of Sheba heard of the fame of Solomon, she came to prove Solomon with hard questions at Jerusalem, with a very great company, and camels that bare spices, and gold in abundance, and precious stones: and when she was come to Solomon, she communed with him of all that was in her heart.
2 And Solomon told her all her questions: and there was nothing hid from Solomon which he told her not.
3 And when the queen of Sheba had seen the wisdom of Solomon, and the house that he had built,
4 And the meat of his table, and the sitting of his servants, and the attendance of his ministers, and their apparel; his cupbearers also, and their apparel; and his ascent by which he went up into the house of the Lord; there was no more spirit in her.
5 And she said to the king, It was a true report which I heard in mine own land of thine acts, and of thy wisdom:
6 Howbeit I believed not their words, until I came, and mine eyes had seen it: and, behold, the one half of the greatness of thy wisdom was not told me: for thou exceedest the fame that I heard.
7 Happy are thy men, and happy are these thy servants, which stand continually before thee, and hear thy wisdom.
8 Blessed be the Lord thy God, which delighted in thee to set thee on his throne, to be king for the Lord thy God: because thy God loved Israel, to establish them for ever, therefore made he thee king over them, to do judgment and justice.
9 And she gave the king an hundred and twenty talents of gold, and of spices great abundance, and precious stones: neither was there any such spice as the queen of Sheba gave king Solomon.
10 And the servants also of Huram, and the servants of Solomon, which brought gold from Ophir, brought algum trees and precious stones.
11 And the king made of the algum trees terraces to the house of the Lord, and to the king’s palace, and harps and psalteries for singers: and there were none such seen before in the land of Judah.
12 And king Solomon gave to the queen of Sheba all her desire, whatsoever she asked, beside that which she had brought unto the king. So she turned, and went away to her own land, she and her servants.

The Queen of Sheba heard of Solomon and wanted to test him. She visited him in Jerusalem and told him all that was in her heart. Solomon was able to answer her all the questions she had, with complete wisdom. Once the queen had seen this for herself, along with all the prosperity and success of his Kingdom, she was convinced of the truth to what she had heard of him. She told him this and that she couldn’t believe it until she saw for herself. She went so far as to say that what she had heard did not even come close to the level of his actual wisdom. She was impressed by the happiness of his men and servants. She praised the Lord who had given him the kingdom. She recognized that the God of Israel had loved his people so much that he blessed them with Solomon as their king and judge. She gave Solomon gifts of gold, spices and precious stones. Then, the servants of Huram along with his own servants, brought algum trees and precious stones, which Solomon used to make terraces for the temple and his palace, such as had not been seen in the land of Judah. Solomon gave gifts to the queen of Sheba of anything she asked of him. Then she and her servants returned to her own land.

13 Now the weight of gold that came to Solomon in one year was six hundred and threescore and six talents of gold;
14 Beside that which chapmen and merchants brought. And all the kings of Arabia and governors of the country brought gold and silver to Solomon.

In addition to his amazing wisdom, he was prosperous beyond any other. In one year, he recieved over 600 talents of gold. All the kings and leaders around, brought him gifts of gold and silver.

15 And king Solomon made two hundred targets of beaten gold: six hundred shekels of beaten gold went to one target.
16 And three hundred shields made he of beaten gold: three hundred shekels of gold went to one shield. And the king put them in the house of the forest of Lebanon.
17 Moreover the king made a great throne of ivory, and overlaid it with pure gold.
18 And there were six steps to the throne, with a footstool of gold, which were fastened to the throne, and stays on each side of the sitting place, and two lions standing by the stays:
19 And twelve lions stood there on the one side and on the other upon the six steps. There was not the like made in any kingdom.

Solomon made shields of gold, which he put in the house of the forest of Lebanon (like an armory). He also had an ivory throne made, which was plaited in gold and raised on a gold platform with six steps leading up to it. On each side of the throne, there was a lion, as well as on both sides of each step of the platform.

20 And all the drinking vessels of king Solomon were of gold, and all the vessels of the house of the forest of Lebanon were of pure gold: none were of silver; it was not any thing accounted of in the days of Solomon.
21 For the king’s ships went to Tarshish with the servants of Huram: every three years once came the ships of Tarshish bringing gold, and silver, ivory, and apes, and peacocks.
22 And king Solomon passed all the kings of the earth in riches and wisdom.

Instruments, tools, cups and such things in his palace, were made of gold. He continued to receive gold, silver, ivory, apes and peacocks from his men who went to Tarshish with the men of Huram. He was by far, the most wise and wealthy king of all the world.

23 And all the kings of the earth sought the presence of Solomon, to hear his wisdom, that God had put in his heart.
24 And they brought every man his present, vessels of silver, and vessels of gold, and raiment, harness, and spices, horses, and mules, a rate year by year.

Many kings visited Solomon, to hear his wisdom. Each brought gifts of silver, gold, clothing, spices, horses and mules. Other nations must have recognized the power in the wisdom and strength of Solomon and Israel. In bringing gifts to Solomon, they paid him tribute and possible made an alliance with Israel. This would have meant greater peace for Israel during his reign. (see also 1 Kings 4)

25 And Solomon had four thousand stalls for horses and chariots, and twelve thousand horsemen; whom he bestowed in the chariot cities, and with the king at Jerusalem.
26 And he reigned over all the kings from the river even unto the land of the Philistines, and to the border of Egypt.
27 And the king made silver in Jerusalem as stones, and cedar trees made he as the sycomore trees that are in the low plains in abundance.
28 And they brought unto Solomon horses out of Egypt, and out of all lands.

With the gift of so many horses and chariots, Solomon had 4,000 places made for them. He had 12,000 men as horsemen located in chariot cities and in Jerusalem. He ruled over Israel, as well as over the leaders of the nations bordering Israel. Solomon and Israel became very prosperous.

29 Now the rest of the acts of Solomon, first and last, are they not written in the book of Nathan the prophet, and in the prophecy of Ahijah the Shilonite, and in the visions of Iddo the seer against Jeroboam the son of Nebat?
30 And Solomon reigned in Jerusalem over all Israel forty years.
31 And Solomon slept with his fathers, and he was buried in the city of David his father: and Rehoboam his son reigned in his stead.

Much of the history of Solomon was written in books and prophecies that are not contained in the Bible today, but were recorded by the prophet Nathan (prophet during reign of David as well as Solomon), Ahijah the Shilonite (prophet of Jeroboam’s time), and Iddo the seer. Solomon reigned for 40 years in Israel and then passed away. His son, Rehoboam, became the next king of Israel.

Solomon was a great king in Israel. His wisdom, wealth, and success were greater than any that lived at that time. As a result, Israel was a powerful and great nation in the eyes of the world. There has been no other ruler like him and Israel (I believe) has never been as prosperous or strong in the eyes of other nations since. All this was a blessing upon Solomon, for the good man he was at the beginning of his reign. The hand of God was with him and Israel during his reign. This story in the Bible reflects a gospel principle found throughout the Book of Mormon. In 1 Nephi 2:20, Nephi writes the words of the Lord, “And inasmuch as ye shall keep my commandments, ye shall prosper, and shall be led to a land of promise…”. (see also 1 Nephi 4:14, 2 Nephi 1:9, 20, 2 Nephi 4:4, Jarom 1:9, and Mosiah 2:22, 31) The Lord blesses those who are faithful to him with things that are spiritual, such as the gift of wisdom, as well as things that are physical, like wealth and safety from enemies. Even nations have been blessed as Israel was, and will continue to receive the blessings of God if they are led by leaders who strive to do good according to their knowledge. This is because God loves all of us. We are His children and He desires to bless us with all that we stand in need of and desire for our good.

2 Chronicles Chapter 8

With the completion of the temple, Solomon had finished the main task given to him by his father, David. A task that was declared to David, by the Lord. Now that it was done, he could turn his attention to other things in the kingdom of Israel, such as those in this chapter. It begins:

1 And it came to pass at the end of twenty years, wherein Solomon had built the house of the Lord, and his own house,
2 That the cities which Huram had restored 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, fenced cities, with walls, gates, and bars;
6 And Baalath, and all the store cities that Solomon had, and all the chariot cities, and the cities of the horsemen, and all that Solomon desired to build in Jerusalem, and in Lebanon, and throughout all the land of his dominion.

After twenty years, the temple and palace of Solomon were finished. The cities that Huram (Hiram), king of Tyre, had possession of were returned to Solomon. (Solomon had given his cities that he had found unfavorable, so they were returned to Solomon.) He worked to build these cities and they became the homelands of some of the children of Israel. Solomon fought against Hamath-zobah, a prominent city at the northern border of the promised land, and won. He built part of the road that led from Jerusalem to the sea, as well as, more cities in the wilderness, which he fortified with fences, walls, gates and such. Some were cities of chariots and horsemen. Likewise he built more in Jerusalem, according to his desires. It was important that Solomon build the cities to add strength to the promised land.

7 As for all the people that were left of the Hittites, and the Amorites, and the Perizzites, and the Hivites, and the Jebusites, which were not of Israel,
8 But of their children, who were left after them in the land, whom the children of Israel consumed not, them did Solomon make to pay tribute until 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 captains of his chariots and horsemen.
10 And these were the chief of king Solomon’s officers, even two hundred and fifty, that bare rule over the people.

The other people that had been in the land of Israel, some remaining canaanites such as the Hittites (descendants of Heth), Amoriets, Perizzites (villagers), Hivites (of Gibeon) and Jebusites (those who already lived in Jerusalem), were made to pay tribute to Israel (or to serve Israel). Solomon did not make servants of the Israltelites. Instead there were soldiers and chiefs among them. He had 250 chief officers to be rulers over the people of Israel.

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 the Lord hath come.

Solomon took his wife, the daughter of Pharaoh (possibly Pi-netchem of the 21st dynasty, with whom Solomon made a marriage alliance), from the city of David and built a house for her. He was not going to have any wife of his live in the palace of King David, when he had completed his own palace.

12 Then Solomon offered burnt offerings unto the Lord on the altar of the Lord, which he had built before the porch,
13 Even after a certain rate every day, offering according to the commandment of Moses, on the sabbaths, and on the new moons, and on the solemn 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.

He offered daily sacrifices to the Lord, as he continued to live the law of Moses, with its ritual offerings and feasts. The feasts included the feast of unleavened bread, the feast of weeks, and the feast of tabernacles. (see also 1 Kings 9)

14 And he appointed, according to the order of David his father, the courses of the priests to their service, and the Levites to their charges, to praise and minister before the priests, as the duty of every day required: the porters 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 the Lord, and until it was finished. So the house of the Lord was perfected.

Solomon appointed priests and Levites to serve as they had been assigned by David, his father. There were also those who were musicians and porters (those at the gates of the temple). They followed all the commandments that had been established for the priests and Levites as far as the treasures were concerned. The Levites and priests had sacred callings in the house of Israel which involved all things having to do with the temple. It was a duty taken very seriously by the Lord.

17 Then went Solomon to Ezion-geber, and to Eloth, at the sea side 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 went with the servants of Solomon to Ophir, and took thence four hundred and fifty talents of gold, and brought them to king Solomon.

Solomon traveled to the seaside in Edom (the location of a portion of his Navy), where Huram gave him ships and servants to man the ships. They went with Solomon’s men, to a place called Ophir, where they obtained 450 talents of gold. These were brought to king Solomon.

Solomon was blessed to have order and success in the establishment of many things in his Kingdom. He knew the commandments and what was expected of him as the king of Israel, under the direction of the Lord. Because his father had raised him in righteousness, Solomon knew how to follow the law of Moses. This would make him a great leader for the children of Israel. The youth of today, are a part of the Lord’s army. They are the leaders of the world of our future. Parents have the responsibility, as David did, to raise children in righteousness and to teach them the commandments and gospel of Jesus Christ. As this is done according to the will of God, the youth will be blessed greatly as they lead in the world of tomorrow. Moreover, they will build up the Lord’s kingdom on the earth, as Solomon built his kingdom, in preparation for His return. I am grateful for this responsibility and feel it a pleasure to watch my children grow in righteousness. I hope that I raise my children how the Lord would have me raise them, that they will become strong disciples of Jesus Christ.

2 Chronicles Chapter 7

The temple of the Lord, which Solomon built, had been completed and dedicated. Many sacrifices and offerings had been prepared on the altars of the temple. The elders and priests of Israel were all gathered together in Jerusalem for this event, and the glory of the Lord was among them in a thick cloud that filled the temple. Chapter 7 begins as follows:

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 the Lord filled the house.
2 And the priests could not enter into the house of the Lord, because the glory of the Lord had filled the Lord’s house.
3 And when all the children of Israel saw how the fire came down, and the glory of the Lord upon the house, they bowed themselves with their faces to the ground upon the pavement, and worshipped, and praised the Lord, saying, For he is good; for his mercy endureth for ever.

At the conclusion of Solomon’s dedicatory prayer, fire came down from heaven and consumed the offerings and sacrifices that had been prepared. The glory of the Lord continued to fill the temple, so much so, that the priests were unable to enter. The Israelites that witnessed these things, bowed down and worshipped the Lord for his goodness and never-ending mercy. (see also 1 Kings 8)

4 Then the king and all the people offered sacrifices before the Lord.
5 And king Solomon offered a sacrifice of twenty and two thousand oxen, and an hundred and twenty thousand sheep: so the king and all the people dedicated the house of God.
6 And the priests waited on their offices: the Levites also with instruments of musick of the Lord, which David the king had made to praise the Lord, because his mercy 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 the Lord: for there he offered burnt offerings, and the fat of the peace offerings, because the brasen altar which Solomon had made was not able to receive the burnt offerings, and the meat offerings, and the fat.

Sacrifices were offered, including 22,000 oxen and 120,000 sheep. The temple was thus dedicated, and the service of the priests began to be there. Everyone stood at the sound of the trumpets played by the musicians. Solomon dedicated the middle of the court, just in front of the temple, where sacrifices were offered by him. He had offered them there because the altar had not been sufficient to hold the offerings which had been given and prepared.

8 Also at the same time Solomon kept the feast seven days, and all Israel with him, a very great congregation, from the entering in of Hamath unto the river of Egypt.
9 And in the eighth day they made 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 into their tents, glad and merry in heart for the goodness that the Lord had shewed unto David, and to Solomon, and to Israel his people.
11 Thus Solomon finished the house of the Lord, and the king’s house: and all that came into Solomon’s heart to make in the house of the Lord, and in his own house, he prosperously effected.

The feast associated with the dedication went on for seven days, in which a large number of the Israelites participated. On the eighth day, they held a solemn assembly. Then, the people were sent to their tents. They were happy and grateful for the goodness of the Lord shown toward King David, King Solomon, and the Israelite people. With that, the dedication and celebration were complete. Everything Solomon did for the temple and his own palace, prospered. (see also 1 Kings 9)

12 And the Lord appeared to Solomon by night, and said unto him, I have heard thy prayer, and have chosen this place to myself for an house of sacrifice.
13 If I shut up heaven that there be no rain, or if I command the locusts to devour the land, or if I send pestilence among my people;
14 If my people, which 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 sanctified this house, that my name may be there for ever: and mine eyes and mine 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 shalt observe my statutes and my judgments;
18 Then will I stablish the throne of thy kingdom, according as I have 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 sanctified for my name, will I cast out of my sight, and will make it to be a proverb and a byword among all nations.
21 And this house, which is high, shall be an astonishment to every one that passeth by it; so that he shall say, Why hath the Lord done thus unto this land, and unto this house?
22 And it shall be answered, Because they forsook the Lord God of their fathers, which 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.

Solomon was visited by the Lord in the night. The Lord told Solomon personally, that the temple was chosen by the Lord as a house of sacrifice. The Lord, who had power to bring drought, locusts or pestilences, promised Solomon that he would forgive those who humbly repented and sought him, and heal the land. He promised to hear the prayers of the faithful made in the temple. Additionally, he promised Solomon that his kingdom would be established in Israel continually, so long as Solomon remained faithful and obedient to commandments of the Lord. If, however, this was not the case, and Solomon turned away from the Lord, and was disobedient and forsook the instruction and commandments of the Lord, in effect seeking after other gods for worship, the Lord would remove them from the land of promise and cast the temple out as an example to all the world. The people would have a reminder from the temple, of the suffering brought to them by the Lord because they turned away from their God to worship other gods.

God will not continue to help and bless the life of anyone who forsakes him. I don’t believe this is simply because he does not like to be forsaken. God is a merciful Father, who honors our individual agency with perfection. He removes his blessing upon the people who do not remember Him and His commandments, because they would be held to a higher standard, in the day of judgment, if he continued to give them blessings that are reserved for the faithful. In Luke 12:48, Jesus taught, “…For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required…”. Therefore, He allows men to suffer by the gods they choose to follow, in other words He allows them to suffer (or experience) from all that the world has to offer them, which is not eternally damning to their soul to the same degree. God does not want to punish us, He wants to bless us. He does not look for ways to help us fail even more. He does not want to put any of us in the position to be condemned further, but gives us the opportunities to choose to return to Him on our own. His love and mercy for His children, no matter if they choose to follow Him or not, is amazing beyond our understanding, and is the love and mercy of a perfect Father.

On the other hand, God gladly blesses men for faithfulness. We are blessed in many ways, including a happiness and peace in our lives. The people in Israel, who had gathered for the dedication and feast, left happy. They had experienced amazing things during the dedication. These experiences brought a response from the people, of gratitude to the Lord. In my own experience at temple dedications, there hasn’t been a visible cloud of the glory of the Lord, but I have felt full of the spirit. It is a feeling which is hard to describe other than to say it is like a burning in my heart and a feeling of joy and peace I wanted to last. Solomon must have felt true joy to have done this thing for the Lord. His experience did not end there, but he was then visited by the Lord, just as his father had been. This was a personal confirmation to Solomon, that he had followed the will of the Lord. He had done the things that were necessary to allow more of God’s children the blessings of the temple, because they could more fully keep the covenants they had made.

2 Chronicles Chapter 6

The presence of the glory of the Lord, was a manifestation of God’s acceptance of the temple that Solomon had built. The only thing remaining before the temple would be put to regular use, was to dedicate it to the Lord and His purposes. This chapter begins:

1 Then said Solomon, The Lord hath said that he would dwell in the thick darkness.
2 But I have built an house of habitation for thee, and a place for thy dwelling for ever.
3 And the king turned his face, and blessed the whole congregation of Israel: and all the congregation of Israel stood.
4 And he said, Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, who hath with his hands fulfilled that which he spake with his mouth to my father David, saying,
5 Since the day that I brought forth my people out of the land of Egypt I chose no city among all the tribes of Israel to build an house in, that my name might be there; neither chose I any man to be a ruler over my people Israel:
6 But I have chosen Jerusalem, that my name might be there; and have chosen David to be over my people Israel.
7 Now it was in the heart of David my father to build an house for the name of the Lord God of Israel.
8 But the Lord said to David my father, Forasmuch as it was in thine heart to build an house for my name, thou didst well in that it was in thine heart:
9 Notwithstanding thou shalt not build the house; but thy son which shall come forth out of thy loins, he shall build the house for my name.
10 The Lord therefore hath performed his word that he hath spoken: for I am risen up in the room of David my father, and am set on the throne of Israel, as the Lord promised, and have built the house for the name of the Lord God of Israel.
11 And in it have I put the ark, wherein is the covenant of the Lord, that he made with the children of Israel.

Solomon declared to God, that the temple was built as a house for God. Then, he blessed the congregation of Israel. He was grateful for the Lord’s help in fulfilling the commandment given to His father, David. The Lord had chosen Jerusalem to be the city where the temple would be built, after a very long time with the Israelites inhabiting the land of promise. David had been chosen by God, to rule over His people. David had desires to build the temple for the Lord, but it was given to David to build it. David was blessed for his desires and was told that his son would build the temple. Solomon spoke of the fulfillment of this through him. Solomon had placed the ark of the covenant in the temple, so that He could continue to keep the covenants made with the children of Israel by his presence being among them. (see also 1 Kings 8)

12 And he stood before the altar of the Lord in the presence of all the congregation of Israel, and spread forth his hands:
13 For Solomon had made a brasen scaffold, of five cubits long, and five cubits broad, and three cubits high, and had set it in the midst of the court: and upon it he stood, and kneeled down upon his knees before all the congregation of Israel, and spread forth his hands toward heaven,
14 And said, O Lord God of Israel, there is no God like thee in the heaven, nor in the earth; which keepest covenant, and shewest mercy unto thy servants, that walk before thee with all their hearts:
15 Thou which hast kept with thy servant David my father that which thou hast promised him; and spakest with thy mouth, and hast fulfilled it with thine hand, as it is this day.
16 Now therefore, O Lord God of Israel, keep with thy servant David my father that which thou hast promised him, saying, There shall not fail thee a man in my sight to sit upon the throne of Israel; yet so that thy children take heed to their way to walk in my law, as thou hast walked before me.
17 Now then, O Lord God of Israel, let thy word be verified, which thou hast spoken unto thy servant David.
18 But will God in very deed dwell with men on the earth? behold, heaven and the heaven of heavens cannot contain thee; how much less this house which I have built!
19 Have respect therefore to the prayer of thy servant, and to his supplication, O Lord my God, to hearken unto the cry and the prayer which thy servant prayeth before thee:
20 That thine eyes may be open upon this house day and night, upon the place whereof thou hast said that thou wouldest put thy name there; to hearken unto the prayer which thy servant prayeth toward this place.
21 Hearken therefore unto the supplications of thy servant, and of thy people Israel, which they shall make toward this place: hear thou from thy dwelling place, even from heaven; and when thou hearest, forgive.

After finishing this message to the people, Solomon stood upon a riser, before the altar and offered a dedicatory prayer. In the prayer, he recognized that God is unlike anything or anyone else in all the world or in heaven. God keeps His covenants perfectly and is a merciful God to the righteous who strive to walk with Him. Solomon said that God had fulfilled His words that day, with the completion of the temple. Solomon prayed that the promises made to his father, that the line of David would continue upon the throne in Israel, would continue to be fulfilled as well. Solomon recognized that God could not be contained by the temple built by men, but asked that the Lord would watch over the temple day and night. He asked that God would put his name upon the temple, as had been told to David, and that the prayer of Solomon would be heard and answered. Solomon prayed that the Lord would hear all the prayers offered toward the temple, and that the Lord would forgive.

22 If a man sin against his neighbour, and an oath be laid upon him to make him swear, and the oath come before thine altar in this house;
23 Then hear thou from heaven, and do, and judge thy servants, by requiting the wicked, by recompensing his way upon his own head; and by justifying the righteous, by giving him according to his righteousness.

Solomon prayed that their oaths would be recognized by the Lord judging and rewarding them justly according to their wickedness or righteousness.

24 And if thy people Israel be put to the worse before the enemy, because they have sinned against thee; and shall return and confess thy name, and pray and make supplication before thee in this house;
25 Then hear thou from the heavens, and forgive the sin of thy people Israel, and bring them again unto the land which thou gavest to them and to their fathers.

He prayed that when the Lord allowed their enemies to have power over them, the repentant sinners would be forgiven and brought back to the land of promise given to their ancestors.

26 When the heaven is shut up, and there is no rain, because they have sinned against thee; yet if they pray toward this place, and confess thy name, and turn from their sin, when thou dost afflict them;
27 Then hear thou from heaven, and forgive the sin of thy servants, and of thy people Israel, when thou hast taught them the good way, wherein they should walk; and send rain upon thy land, which thou hast given unto thy people for an inheritance.

If they sinned and the consequence was drought, Solomon prayed for the Lord to forgive penitent Israel and bless them with rain upon the promised land.

28 If there be dearth in the land, if there be pestilence, if there be blasting, or mildew, locusts, or caterpillers; if their enemies besiege them in the cities of their land; whatsoever sore or whatsoever sickness there be:
29 Then what prayer or what supplication soever shall be made of any man, or of all thy people Israel, when every one shall know his own sore and his own grief, and shall spread forth his hands in this house:
30 Then hear thou from heaven thy dwelling place, and forgive, and render unto every man according unto all his ways, whose heart thou knowest; (for thou only knowest the hearts of the children of men:)
31 That they may fear thee, to walk in thy ways, so long as they live in the land which thou gavest unto our fathers.

Additionally, if there is any curse upon the land of any kind, he prayed that God would forgive those who repent and pray to the Lord, and they would receive forgiveness and blessings according to their good works. Solomon said that this was so that the people would reverence the Lord, following the commandments, because they would recognize that they received their blessings from God according to their faith.

God is all-knowing and therefore, He knows us. He knows are needs. He knows are dispositions. He knows our temptations. He knows our weaknesses as well as our strengths. He knows the things that we desire in the deepest parts of our hearts. He knows these things perfectly and in ways that we do not even know ourselves. He is waiting to bless us as our loving Father in Heaven, but he desires that we have every opportunity for growth in this life. Because of this, He expects us to repent and return to Him to ask for forgiveness, in order for us to receive those blessings. When the Israelites turned back to the temple, where the presence of the Lord was in their day, they could be forgiven by their all-knowing God, and through receiving promised blessings they would recognize the power, forgiveness, mercy and goodness of God.

32 Moreover concerning the stranger, which is not of thy people Israel, but is come from a far country for thy great name’s sake, and thy mighty hand, and thy stretched out arm; if they come and pray in this house;
33 Then hear thou from the heavens, even from thy dwelling place, and do according to all that the stranger calleth to thee for; that all people of the earth may know thy name, and fear thee, as doth thy people Israel, and may know that this house which I have built is called by thy name.
34 If thy people go out to war against their enemies by the way that thou shalt send them, and they pray unto thee toward this city which thou hast chosen, and the house which I have built for thy name;
35 Then hear thou from the heavens their prayer and their supplication, and maintain their cause.
36 If they sin against thee, (for there is no man which sinneth not,) and thou be angry with them, and deliver them over before their enemies, and they carry them away captives unto a land far off or near;
37 Yet if they bethink themselves in the land whither they are carried captive, and turn and pray unto thee in the land of their captivity, saying, We have sinned, we have done amiss, and have dealt wickedly;
38 If they return to thee with all their heart and with all their soul in the land of their captivity, whither they have carried them captives, and pray toward their land, which thou gavest unto their fathers, and toward the city which thou hast chosen, and toward the house which I have built for thy name:
39 Then hear thou from the heavens, even from thy dwelling place, their prayer and their supplications, and maintain their cause, and forgive thy people which have sinned against thee.
40 Now, my God, let, I beseech thee, thine eyes be open, and let thine ears be attent unto the prayer that is made in this place.
41 Now therefore arise, O Lord God, into thy resting place, thou, and the ark of thy strength: let thy priests, O Lord God, be clothed with salvation, and let thy saints rejoice in goodness.
42 O Lord God, turn not away the face of thine anointed: remember the mercies of David thy servant.

Solomon prayed the the prayers of foreigners, made towards the temple, would also be heard and answered by the Lord. He prayed for this, because all men, everywhere, would be able to see the blessings and know the God of Israel. He asked for the blessings of the Lord, to be upon the host of Israel who prayed towards the temple as they went to defend the children of Israel from their enemies. If they would be captured by their enemies because they sinned against the Lord and remember and return to the Lord with all of their heart and soul, praying towards the temple from the land of their bondage, then Solomon asked that the Lord hear their prayers and forgive them. He prayed that every prayer be heard that was made in the temple. He then dedicated the temple to the Lord as His resting place, asking for blessing upon the priests who would serve there, that the saints might rejoice.

Why would it be important to know of this dedication? Isaiah 56:7 reads, “Even them will I bring to my holy mountain, and make them joyful in my house of prayer: their burnt offerings and their sacrifices shall be accepted upon mine altar; for mine house shall be called an house of prayer for all people.” During His mortal ministry, Jesus said, “…It is written, My house is the house of prayer: but ye have made it a den of thieves. (Luke 19:46)” Again in more modern times, when talking of the temple, the Lord instructed Joseph Smith, “Organize yourselves; prepare every needful thing; and establish a house, even a house of prayer… (Doctrine and Covenants 88:119).” The temples of the Lord, modern and ancient, are houses of prayer. Temples have been dedicated to the Lord by prayer. Sacrifices made to the Lord in temples have been dedicated by prayer. Sacred covenants are made there by prayer. The faithful seek revelation, guidance and answers through prayer when within the walls of the temple. This is necessary, because God wants to communicate with His people. This is a main purpose for the building of temples around the world. He desires for His children to separate themselves from the world spiritually and physically, and speak to Him, commit to Him, and love Him. We should be a prayerful people. I am grateful for the experiences I have had in hearing dedicatory prayers for a few of the modern temples. I am sure that all those present in the days of Solomon’s dedication of the temple in Jerusalem, were greatly blessed by that experience as well.

2 Chronicles Chapter 5

Solomon had been given the instruction to build a temple, before he had become the king of Israel. As far as the scriptures have recorded, this was the commandment that occupied the mind of his father, King David, for the last several years of his life. Once his reign had been established, Solomon had started the work of constructing the temple and made it a priority for his kingdom. This chapter continues the record of this, and begins with the following:

1 Thus all the work that Solomon made for the house of the Lord was finished: and Solomon brought in all the things that David his father had dedicated; and the silver, and the gold, and all the instruments, put he among the treasures of the house of God.

The temple was completed. Solomon took all the things that King David had dedicated for the temple during the last part of his life, and placed them along with the valuable things he had made for the house of the Lord. (see also 1 Kings 8)

2 Then Solomon assembled the elders of Israel, and all the heads of the tribes, the chief of the fathers of the children of Israel, unto Jerusalem, to bring up the ark of the covenant of the Lord out of the city of David, which is Zion.
3 Wherefore all the men of Israel assembled themselves unto the king in the feast which was in the seventh month.
4 And all the elders of Israel came; and the Levites took up the ark.
5 And they brought up the ark, and the tabernacle of the congregation, and all the holy vessels that were in the tabernacle, these did the priests and the Levites bring up.
6 Also king Solomon, and all the congregation of Israel that were assembled unto him before the ark, sacrificed sheep and oxen, which could not be told nor numbered for multitude.
7 And the priests brought in the ark of the covenant of the Lord unto his place, to the oracle of the house, into the most holy place, even under the wings of the cherubims:
8 For the cherubims spread forth their wings over the place of the ark, and the cherubims covered the ark and the staves thereof above.
9 And they drew out the staves of the ark, that the ends of the staves were seen from the ark before the oracle; but they were not seen without. And there it is unto this day.
10 There was nothing in the ark save the two tables which Moses put therein at Horeb, when the Lord made a covenant with the children of Israel, when they came out of Egypt.

The elders of Israel and tribe leaders were gathered to Jerusalem, so that the ark of the covenant could be brought to the temple on mount Zion. They had their traditional feast, the Feast of Tabernacles known to be held in the seventh month, and the Levites and priests brought the ark and the tabernacle, along with all that was a part of it, into Jerusalem. The people gathered there, worshiped the Lord with a great number of sacrifices. The ark was placed in the holy of holies, under the cherubim wings within the temple, which was its intended resting place. Within the ark, was the two tablets containing the ten commandments Moses had received at Mount Horeb (also known as Mount Sinai). This verse says that was the only thing in the ark, however, Hebrews 9:4 teaches the ark also contained the “pot of manna” and “Aaron’s rod that budded,”. These items had also been included in the things the children of Israel were commanded to keep “before the Testimony” along with the tablets.

11 And it came to pass, when the priests were come out of the holy place: (for all the priests that were present were sanctified, and did not then wait by course:
12 Also the Levites which were the singers, all of them of Asaph, of Heman, of Jeduthun, with their sons and their brethren, being arrayed in white linen, having cymbals and psalteries and harps, stood at the east end of the altar, and with them an hundred and twenty priests sounding with trumpets:)
13 It came even to pass, as the trumpeters and singers were as one, to make one sound to be heard in praising and thanking the Lord; and when they lifted up their voice with the trumpets and cymbals and instruments of musick, and praised the Lord, saying, For he is good; for his mercy endureth for ever: that then the house was filled with a cloud, even the house of the Lord;
14 So that the priests could not stand to minister by reason of the cloud: for the glory of the Lord had filled the house of God.

Once all had been properly placed within the temple by the priests, the temple musicians, which were all gathered at the end of the altar, dressed in white and ready with their instruments, began to play in praise and thanksgiving to the Lord. They sang in praise of the Lord, of his eternal goodness and mercy. Then the glory of the Lord was manifested in the temple, by a cloud, which filled the space and caused the priests to be unable to stand to minister. Music is not something created by men for our enjoyment. Music is of God. The temple was complete and all was placed within it, but the glory of the Lord came when the people praised God with music. Music is seen by God as a prayer, as indicated in Doctrine and Covenants 25:12. “For my soul delighteth in the song of the heart; yea, the song of the righteous is a prayer unto me, and it shall be answered with a blessing upon their heads.” If one song could invite the glory of the Lord to abide in the temple in the days of Solomon, then a single song has a lot of power spiritually. This should cause us to consider what songs we sing, the power they have, and what we might invite into our lives and our personal temples or “tabernacles of clay”, as we sing and dance. What kinds of prayers are we singing to God in our everyday lives?

I cannot begin to imagine the excitement and joy that must have been there among the elders of Israel and the Levites. After so many years in the land of promise, the ark of the covenant had finally found its resting place. So much effort had gone into the building of this glorious temple. Then, as they worshiped the Lord, his acceptance was made known to them as the cloud filled the temple. I do not know how often, if much at all, the cloud had been present with the tabernacle in the promised land. I am sure that they all knew the stories of the cloud that covered the tabernacle as their ancestors had traveled in the wilderness. In any case, this must have been a glorious time of celebration for the Israelites, and especially for Solomon. The Lord had accepted their sacrifices, both those in building the temple and those they made when it was completed, and they were able to witness his presence among them.

2 Chronicles Chapter 4

As part of the building of the temple in Jerusalem, King Solomon needed to craft all of the sacred items for use in the temple. Chapter 4 tells of those items and how they were made.

1 Moreover he made an altar of brass, twenty cubits the length thereof, and twenty cubits the breadth thereof, and ten cubits the height thereof.

The items designed, included a brass altar, which was 20 cubits square and ten cubits high. This was patterned after the altar in the tabernacle, but made larger. With the need to carry the altar, the one created for the tabernacle had to be crafted at its smaller size. In the temple Solomon built, it was designed in a larger size meant to be both a permanent fixture and to allow for more sacrifices at one time.

2 Also he made a molten sea of ten cubits from brim to brim, round in compass, and five cubits the height thereof; and a line of thirty cubits did compass it round about.
3 And under it was the similitude of oxen, which did compass it round about: ten in a cubit, compassing the sea round about. Two rows of oxen were cast, when it was cast.
4 It stood upon twelve oxen, three looking toward the north, and three looking toward the west, and three looking toward the south, and three looking toward the east: and the sea was set above upon them, and all their hinder parts were inward.
5 And the thickness of it was an handbreadth, and the brim of it like the work of the brim of a cup, with flowers of lilies; and it received and held three thousand baths.

The basin, or molten sea, was circular and ten cubits in diameter. It stood 5 cubits in height and was ornamented with lilies. It was placed on twelve oxen to represent the twelve tribes of Israel. Three oxen faced outward each direction: north, south, east, and west. (See also 1 Kings 7) This is the pattern for the baptismal fonts in temples of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints built today, which are circular as well, and rest on the backs of twelve oxen set in this same way.

6 He made also ten lavers, and put five on the right hand, and five on the left, to wash in them: such things as they offered for the burnt offering they washed in them; but the sea was for the priests to wash in.
7 And he made ten candlesticks of gold according to their form, and set them in the temple, five on the right hand, and five on the left.
8 He made also ten tables, and placed them in the temple, five on the right side, and five on the left. And he made an hundred basins of gold.

There were ten lavers, made for washing the offerings, while the larger basin was for the priests to wash. Ten golden candlesticks, or lamp stands, were made as had been for the tabernacle, and placed in the temple. These would be used to keep light continuously in the temple. Ten tables were made as well along with 100 golden basins.

9 Furthermore he made the court of the priests, and the great court, and doors for the court, and overlaid the doors of them with brass.
10 And he set the sea on the right side of the east end, over against the south.
11 And Huram made the pots, and the shovels, and the basins. And Huram finished the work that he was to make for king Solomon for the house of God;
12 To wit, the two pillars, and the pommels, and the chapiters which were on the top of the two pillars, and the two wreaths to cover the two pommels of the chapiters which were on the top of the pillars;
13 And four hundred pomegranates on the two wreaths; two rows of pomegranates on each wreath, to cover the two pommels of the chapiters which were upon the pillars.
14 He made also bases, and lavers made he upon the bases;
15 One sea, and twelve oxen under it.
16 The pots also, and the shovels, and the fleshhooks, and all their instruments, did Huram his father make to king Solomon for the house of the Lord of bright brass.
17 In the plain of Jordan did the king cast them, in the clay ground between Succoth and Zeredathah.
18 Thus Solomon made all these vessels in great abundance: for the weight of the brass could not be found out.

The court of the priests was made, as well as the great court with brass doors. The basin was placed in the south-east end of the temple. Huram, a metal-worker of Tyre, crafted the brass (or polished bronze) pots, shovels and basins. He also designed the ornaments of the pillars, bases for the lavers (washbasins), the basin and oxen, pots, shovels, flesh-hooks, and all the other various items to be used in the temple.

19 And Solomon made all the vessels that were for the house of God, the golden altar also, and the tables whereon the shewbread was set;
20 Moreover the candlesticks with their lamps, that they should burn after the manner before the oracle, of pure gold;
21 And the flowers, and the lamps, and the tongs, made he of gold, and that perfect gold;
22 And the snuffers, and the basins, and the spoons, and the censers, of pure gold: and the entry of the house, the inner doors thereof for the most holy place, and the doors of the house of the temple, were of gold.

Solomon had all the golden vessels made, such as the golden altar, tables for the shewbread, candlesticks, flowers, lamps, tongs, snuffers, basins, spoons, and censers. The entrance of the temple, doors of the holy place and the doors of the temple, were also made with gold.

The temple that Solomon built, was not just a building of beauty, but it was a building of purpose. It was created for the sacred worship of God through sacrifices and service. In order to perform the rites and rituals that had been established by the Lord, they needed all of these items that Solomon made. Each item had a dedicated purpose and a specific way they were to be used. This can be related as well, to our bodies, which are also a type of temple. In 1 Corinthians 3:17 we read, “If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.” Additionally in chapter 6, verse 19, we read, “What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God…?” Our bodies are temples of out spirits and they are not just for beauty, but they are created for specific purposes designed by God. We worship God through the sacrifice and service of our own bodies. Each part has been created by God, with a specific purpose and use and we can choose to dedicate it to the Lord. I am forever grateful for the body I have been given and the things I am able to do with this gift. I pray each day that I might use it for good. Likewise, I am grateful for the temples of the Lord built today, and the service and covenants for which they are built. Temples are an evidence of the love we have for the Lord, and more importantly, the love God has for us. To have been given a place where we can commit ourselves more fully to Him, so that we can be made holy and complete, is a witness that God desires for us all to return to Him. Each temple is beautiful and glorious, as the temple of Solomon was in antiquity, but the blessing of the temple is so much more if we are willing to make the changes and sacrifices necessary to use it personally.

2 Chronicles Chapter 3

Once Solomon had the materials to build the temple, the construction of it started. The temple was to be of the finest workmanship and materials, including the best wood from fir trees and pure gold. This chapter describes some of these details of the temple and begins as follows:

1 Then Solomon began to build the house of the Lord at Jerusalem in mount Moriah, where the Lord appeared unto David his father, in the place that David had prepared in the threshingfloor of Ornan the Jebusite.
2 And he began to build in the second day of the second month, in the fourth year of his reign.

The house of the Lord was laid in Mount Moriah, within Jerusalem, during the fourth year of the reign of Solomon. This was a sacred place, because it was the site where King David had been when he saw the Lord. At that time, an angel of the Lord had destroyed 70,000 men for what David had done in numbering Israel. The angel had been by this threshing floor. The prophet Gad, under the direction of an angel of the Lord, had told David to build an altar there in order to repent of his sin. So David purchased the land from Ornan (Araunah), built an altar, and offered sacrifice. The Lord accepted of his sacrifice by heavenly fire and the angel no longer destroyed the people. David had chosen that location to make sacrifices and was intending to build the temple there. (See also 1 Kings 6, 2 Samuel 24 and 1 Chronicles 21)

3 Now these are the things wherein Solomon was instructed for the building of the house of God. The length by cubits after the first measure was threescore cubits, and the breadth twenty cubits.
4 And the porch that was in the front of the house, the length of it was according to the breadth of the house, twenty cubits, and the height was an hundred and twenty: and he overlaid it within with pure gold.
5 And the greater house he ceiled with fir tree, which he overlaid with fine gold, and set thereon palm trees and chains.
6 And he garnished the house with precious stones for beauty: and the gold was gold of Parvaim.
7 He overlaid also the house, the beams, the posts, and the walls thereof, and the doors thereof, with gold; and graved cherubims on the walls.
8 And he made the most holy house, the length whereof was according to the breadth of the house, twenty cubits, and the breadth thereof twenty cubits: and he overlaid it with fine gold, amounting to six hundred talents.
9 And the weight of the nails was fifty shekels of gold. And he overlaid the upper chambers with gold.
10 And in the most holy house he made two cherubims of image work, and overlaid them with gold.

Solomon had been given specific instructions as to the building of the temple. It was to be 60 cubits in length and 20 cubits in width. (A cubit was about 18 inches, or the length from elbow to fingertip.) The entrance at the front, was to be 20 cubits by 20 cubits, with the height at 120 cubits. Solomon had the walls inside it, overlaid with gold. The rest of the temple had wooden ceilings overlaid with gold and decorated with palm trees and chains. The temple was ornamented with precious stones. All of the beams, posts, walls, doors and such, were overlaid with gold. There were engravings on the walls of cherubims. The inner holy house was about 20 by 20 cubits. It was also covered in six hundred talents worth of gold. Even the nails used, were gold. The upper chambers were covered in gold as well. Inside it, were two gold covered cherubim statues.

11 And the wings of the cherubims were twenty cubits long: one wing of the one cherub was five cubits, reaching to the wall of the house: and the other wing was likewise five cubits, reaching to the wing of the other cherub.
12 And one wing of the other cherub was five cubits, reaching to the wall of the house: and the other wing was five cubits also, joining to the wing of the other cherub.
13 The wings of these cherubims spread themselves forth twenty cubits: and they stood on their feet, and their faces were inward.

The cherubim wings were each 5 cubits in length. One wing touched the wall of the temple, while the other touched the wing of the second cherub, which also had a wing reaching the opposing wall of the temple. The cherubim were standing with faces pointed inward.

14 And he made the veil of blue, and purple, and crimson, and fine linen, and wrought cherubims thereon.
15 Also he made before the house two pillars of thirty and five cubits high, and the chapiter that was on the top of each of them was five cubits.
16 And he made chains, as in the oracle, and put them on the heads of the pillars; and made an hundred pomegranates, and put them on the chains.
17 And he reared up the pillars before the temple, one on the right hand, and the other on the left; and called the name of that on the right hand Jachin, and the name of that on the left Boaz.

The fine linen veil of the temple was blue, purple, and red. It also had cherubims on it. Two pillars were placed at the entrance of the temple, which were 35 cubits tall. Each had a top piece, or capital, that was 5 cubits. They were decorated with chains ornamented with pomegranates. These pillars were both extremely large and beautifully decorated in their description. Each pillar was given a name, which had been done with other pillars detailed in the bible. The right was called Jachin and the left was called Boaz. In the Bible Dictionary entry for these pillars, it states the meanings of their names as “He will establish” and “In Him is strength.”

Earlier in the Bible, men of God had experiences with sacred things, and followed these up by raising a pillar of some type in remembrance of what had occurred in that place. For example, when Jacob dreamt of the ladder reaching to heaven, he awoke and placed stone pillar in the place, consecrated it with oil and named the place Beth-el (House of God). Again, when Jacob spoke with God and made covenants with him, receiving the name Israel, he built a stone pillar and poured oil on it, calling the place Beth-el. Later, when Moses and the host of Israel made covenants with the Lord to keep the commandments, he made twelve pillars for the twelve tribes. (see Genesis 28, Genesis 35, and Exodus 24) Pillars therefore, were created for other reasons than to bear the weight of a structure, or to mark an entrance. God had made his presence known in that place, when David had been king. It was a sacred place to Solomon and likely to the faithful in Israel. The pillars of Solomon’s temple, were possibly a visual reminder of the covenants made between God and the children of Israel. They were given names that pointed to God. By entering the gate of the temple, where these pillars stood, they were showing God they had faith in Him and in the promises of his protection and power in their lives if they worshipped Him there.

This temple must have been beautiful to behold and unlike anything else ever built by the children of Israel. Solomon was dedicated to making the house of the Lord a place of magnificence. The parts of the temple dedicated to the most sacred things, such as the inner sanctuary, were not going to be seen by the general public. They were not for men’s eyes to behold, but they were made glorious for the Lord. Solomon built this temple to truly be the house of the Lord in his day. As I read this chapter, I cannot help but reflect on the beauty of each temple raised today by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. They are built with the finest craftsmanship and materials. They are magnificent to behold. The doors of the temple have the words “Holiness to the Lord” and “The House of the Lord”. They remind those who enter, that the temple is a place where we are made holy through making covenants with God. The temples are the houses of the Lord, for his purposes and for his Spirit to reside. When we enter the temples today, we show God that we, like the children of Israel, have faith in Him and the promises of his continued protection and power in our lives today.


About My Scripture Study Buddy

I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I love the scriptures, but I am not a scriptorian. I've been told that I'm too "deep" for some, but if you are willing, I'd love to have others join me in my quest for a greater understanding of the gospel. Please feel free to leave me comments and hopefully we can help each other to learn.
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