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II Chronicles - Chapter 7

Tonight We're Gonna Party Like It's 5999

Solomon finished his prayer and a heavenly fire descended and consumed the sacrifices. The kohanim were still unable to enter because of the cloud of G-d's Presence. The people bowed down and praised G-d with the familiar refrain of "ki tov, ki l'olam chasdo," that He is Good and His mercy is everlasting.

Solomon and the people offered many more sacrifices in celebration. The priests stood according to the 24 "watches" that David had instituted and the Levites sang the Psalms David had composed for the occasion. The people stood during the ceremony and the kohanim blew trumpets. Solomon sanctified the interior of the courtyard where he had offered sacrifices because the altar he had built couldn't handle the quantity of offerings brought that day.

Following the inauguration of the Temple, the holiday of Succos was celebrated for a week and all the Jews were in Jerusalem. The eighth day was the holiday of Shemini Atzeres. So, after a good two weeks of celebrating, Solomon bid the people adieu and they returned home. Everyone was happy and satisfied because of G-d's goodness.

Solomon had finished building the Temple and his own palace (which is described in Kings, but not in Chronicles). G-d appeared to Solomon at night and told him that He agrees to the conditions of Solomon's prayer (in chapter 6). If G-d should have occasion to withhold the rain or to punish the people with plague or locusts, if they repent and pray to Him, He will forgive them and restore things to the way they were. G-d said that He would be especially attentive to prayers at the Temple and that His Name would be forever associated with the site. As for Solomon, G-d said that if he walked in the righteous ways of his father King David, doing G-d's will, then G-d will make his throne secure, as He told David He would. But if he strays to idolatry, the people would be uprooted from the land and G-d will allow the Temple to be made an example in the eyes of the world. People will ask why G-d allowed His own "home" to be destroyed. The answer will be because the Jews forsook G-d, Who took them out of Egypt, in favor of false "gods."

Author: Rabbi Jack Abramowitz