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  The Great Bible Story #63
The dedication of the temple

Jacob Ninan
When the temple was complete and the priests had installed the ark inside, the glory of God filled the place as a cloud. Solomon knelt in front of the altar and dedicated the temple to God in prayer. He said he was awed by the privilege he was given to build the temple for God even though it was his father's desire to build it. He requested God to listen with favour to the prayers made from the temple, and to show mercy even if Israel backslid from Him at any time and then returned to Him. When he got up, he blessed the people, and they had great feasts in celebration for several days.

God appeared to Solomon and answered him, saying that if he and the people followed in His ways, His blessings would continually be with them and his descendants would always have a place on the throne. But if they or their descendants went away from Him or did not keep His commandments He would chastise them in different ways.

As a man who had a high intelligence and who had practically no limitations in respect of money or power, Solomon tried to explore different ways he could get pleasure and find meaning in life. He tried constructing great buildings, planting trees of different sorts, trying different cuisines, gaining knowledge from as many sources as he could get, getting 700 wives and 300 other women, etc. He wrote the Song of Songs describing the love of a young man and woman, the Book of Proverbs compiling many snippets of wisdom that he had acquired, and finally th Book of Ecclesiastes where he described the folly of going after the things of this world to find the meaning of life which could only be found with God.

As Solomon became older, his went away from God as he came more and more under the influence of his many wives. He began to build shrines for their heathen gods and carry out sacrifices to them. Just as God had warned him, He began to raise up trouble for him. Jeroboam who was the son of one of Solomon's servant rebelled against him. The prophet Ahijah came to him, cut his cloak into twelve parts and told Jerobaom that he would be given ten parts of the kingdom while Solomon's son would only have two. God told Solomon that after his death the kingdom would be divided into two. Because He remembered the dedication of his father David, He said this would happen only after he died, and also that the lineage of David would continue through one kingdom.

Solomon died after forty years of rule over Israel.

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