The Holy Bible – Knox Translation
The Second Book of Paralipomena
Chapter 6
Where the cloud is, cried Solomon, the Lord has promised to be.
It is true, then, the house I have built in his honour is to be, for ever, his dwelling-place.
With that, the king turned to bless the whole assembly; all Israel, that stood waiting there.
Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, he said, who has fulfilled in act the promise he made to my father David.
So many years since he had rescued his people from Egypt, and never a city among all the tribes of Israel had he chosen to be the site of his dwelling-place or the shrine of his name, never a prince had he appointed over his people of Israel,
till at last he chose Jerusalem, to enshrine his name there, and David for his people’s ruler.
And when he, my father, would have built a house in honour of the Lord God of Israel,
the Lord told him that he had done well to conceive such a purpose in his heart;
But it is not for thee, he said, to build me a house. A house shall be built in my honour, but by thy son, the heir of thy body.
That promise of his the Lord has fulfilled; I have come forward in my father David’s place, sit upon the throne of Israel, as the Lord promised I should; it has been mine to build a house to the honour of the Lord, Israel’s God,
and to find a home for this ark, witness of the covenant he made with Israel’s sons.

Then Solomon stood before the Lord’s altar in full view of all Israel, and stretched out his hands.
In the midst of the great court he had bidden them set down a block of bronze, five cubits across either way and three feet in height; on this he mounted, and there, in the sight of all Israel, kneeling down with his hands lifted up towards heaven, he prayed.
Lord God of Israel, he said, thou reignest without rival in heaven and earth, making good thy merciful promises to all who follow thee with undivided hearts.
And thou hast not disappointed thy servant, my father David; thy act matches thy word; this day, who doubts it?
Do not forget, Lord God of Israel, that other promise of thine to David, that he should always have an heir to sit on the throne of Israel, would but his sons guide their steps, like David himself, as in thy presence;
let that promise too, Lord God of Israel, be ratified!

Folly it were to think that God has a dwelling-place on earth. If the very heavens, and the heaven that is above the heavens, cannot contain thee, what welcome can it offer thee, this house which I have built?
Yet it has not been built in vain, O Lord my God, if thou wilt give heed to thy servant’s prayer, that sues for thy favour, listen to the cry of entreaty he makes before thee.
This I ask, that thy eyes should be ever watching, night and day, over this temple of thine, the chosen sanctuary of thy name;
be this the meeting-place where thou wilt listen to thy servant’s prayer. Whatever requests I or my people Israel make shall find audience here; thou wilt listen from thy dwelling-place in heaven, and listening, wilt forgive.

Has a man wronged his neighbour, and is he ready to clear himself of the charge by an oath? Then, if he comes to this house of thine, to swear the lie before thy altar,
thou, in heaven, wilt be listening, and wilt do justice between thy servants, passing sentence upon the guilty and avenging the wrong, acquitting the innocent and granting him due redress.

Are thy people of Israel condemned to flee before their enemies, in punishment of the sins they will surely commit? Then, if they come back to thee in repentance, call on thy name and plead with thee in this temple of thine,
thou wilt be listening in heaven; forgive the sins of thy people Israel, and restore them to the land which thou gavest to their fathers.

Does the sky bar its gates against them, and give no rain, in punishment for their sins? Then, if they come here acknowledging thee with prayer and repentance, and turn away, in their sore need, from their sins,
do thou, in heaven, listen, and grant thy servants the people of Israel forgiveness; teach them to guide their steps aright, and send rain on the land thou hast given them for their home.

Is there famine in the land, or pestilence, blight or mildew, plague of locust or caterpillar? Does some enemy press hard on it, besieging its city gates? Whatever be the plague or the sickness that weighs us down,
if any one among thy people, accepting that plague or sickness as his own, makes prayer to thee, stretching out his hands in this temple,
thou, in heaven, thy high dwelling-place, wilt be listening; do thou relent, and send to each man the lot his deeds deserve, thou, who alone readest the hearts of human kind.
So will men learn to fear thee and to follow in thy paths, long as they live to enjoy the land thou gavest to our fathers.

Nay, is it some stranger, with no part in thy people Israel, who yet comes here from distant lands, for love of thy renown, for the constraining force thy power displays, and worships thee in this temple?
Still, in heaven, thy secure dwelling-place, thou wilt grant the alien’s prayer. So shall all the world come to hear of thy renown, and fear thee no less than Israel itself; shall doubt no more that this temple I have built claims thy protection.

Sometimes thy people will go out to levy war upon their enemies, here and there at thy bidding. Then, as they fall to prayer, let them but turn in the direction of the city thou hast chosen, the temple I have built there in thy honour,
and thou, in heaven, wilt listen to their prayer for aid, wilt maintain their cause.

But what, if they have offended thee by their faults? No man but is guilty of some fault; it may be thou wilt give them up, in thy anger, into the power of their enemies, and as prisoners they will be banished into countries far away, or alien countries within sight of home.
But ere long, in their banishment, they will come back to thee with repentant hearts, crying out to thee, poor exiles, We are sinners, we have done amiss, rebels all!
In that alien land, the land of their captivity, they will turn back to thee with all the purpose of their heart and soul. Then, if they turn in prayer towards the land thou gavest their fathers, the city of thy choice, and the temple I have built in thy honour,
thou, in heaven, on thy peaceful throne, wilt once more listen to their prayer for aid, wilt maintain their cause still. And thou wilt relent towards thy people, though they have sinned against thee.

My God! Ever be thy eyes open, ever thy ears attentive to the prayer that is offered here.
Up, Lord, take possession of this, thy home, with the ark that makes known thy power; Lord God, let thy priests go clad in triumph, thy faithful people rejoice in thy bounty.
Lord God, do not reject my prayer, the king thou hast anointed; bethink thee of the loving designs thou hadst for thy servant David before him.