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The Everyday Prayer

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Icon of the Holy Face
Church of Sant'Egidio, Rome

Reading of the Word of God

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

I am the good shepherd,
my sheep listen to my voice,
and they become
one flock and one fold.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

2 Chronicles 1, 1-18

Solomon son of David then made himself secure over his kingdom. Yahweh his God was with him, making him more and more powerful.

Solomon then spoke to all Israel, to the commanders of thousands and of hundreds, to the judges and to every leader in all Israel, the heads of families.

Solomon, and the whole assembly with him, then went to the high place at Gibeon, where God's Tent of Meeting was, which Moses, servant of God, had made in the desert.

The ark of the covenant, however, David had brought from Kiriath-Jearim to the place which he had prepared for it, having pitched a tent for it in Jerusalem.

The bronze altar which Bezalel son of Uri, son of Hur, had made was there, in front of Yahweh's Dwelling, where Solomon and the assembly consulted him.

There Solomon presented a burnt offering before Yahweh on the bronze altar of the Tent of Meeting, making on it one thousand burnt offerings.

That night God appeared to Solomon and said, 'Ask what you would like me to give you.'

Solomon replied to God, 'You showed most faithful love to David my father, and you have made me king in succession to him.

Yahweh God, the promise you made to David my father has now been fulfilled, since you have made me king over a people as numerous as the dust of the earth.

Therefore give me wisdom and knowledge to act as leader of this people, for how otherwise could such a great people as yours be governed?'

'Since that is what you want,' God said to Solomon, 'since you have asked, not for riches, treasure, honour, the lives of your enemies, or even for a long life, but for wisdom and knowledge to govern my people of whom I have made you king,

therefore wisdom and knowledge are granted you. I give you riches too, and treasure, and honour such as no king had before you and none will have after you.'

So Solomon came away from the high place at Gibeon, from the Tent of Meeting, to Jerusalem and reigned over Israel.

Solomon then built up a force of chariots and cavalry; he had one thousand four hundred chariots and twelve thousand horses; these he kept in the chariot towns and near the king at Jerusalem.

In Jerusalem the king made silver and gold as common as stones, and cedar wood as plentiful as sycamore in the lowlands.

Solomon's horses were imported from Muzur and Cilicia. The king's dealers acquired them in Cilicia at the prevailing price.

A chariot was imported from Egypt for six hundred silver shekels and a horse from Cilicia for a hundred and fifty. They also supplied the Hittite and Aramaean kings, who all used them as middlemen.

Solomon then gave the order to build a house for the name of Yahweh and a palace in which to reign.


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

I give you a new commandment,
that you love one another.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

The Chronicler opens the second book with the narration of the beginning of the reign of Solomon and continues, through nine chapters, recounting the happenings already described in the first book of Kings. The author, however, omits everything that can cloud the wisdom of Solomon. Thus, he leaves aside the painful events that preceded Solomon’s accession to the throne, the irregularities of his moral life, the incidents in politics both domestic and foreign. The author exalts David as the exemplary orderer of the life of Israel. Solomon is inserted in this pattern: he also must not show blemish. The succession itself is not the natural one between father and son, but a step forward in favour of the people of God. Thus, Solomon, as the builder of the temple, is even greater than David, who however, remains the founder of the dynasty. The Lord “made” Solomon “exceedingly great,” as it was already noted in the first book: “The Lord highly exalted Solomon in the sight of all Israel, and bestowed upon him such royal majesty as had not been on any king before him in Israel” (1 Chr 29:25). The first gesture of the king is the visit to the sanctuary of Gibeon. In this, Solomon imitates David who went in pilgrimage to the ark at Kiriath-jearim (1 Chr 13:1-6). He goes with “all Israel” (v. 3: literally “the whole assembly”) to Gibeon “to inquire at it” (v. 5: literally “to seek the Lord”). Entering the tent, Solomon stops in front of the bronze altar, that Moses had built, and finds himself in the presence of God. The Lord appears to him and asks him what he wished to be given to him. The king asks that the Lord keep his promise made to David (1 Chr 17) and to give him the gift of wisdom and of knowledge. The book of Wisdom reports these words of Solomon: “Therefore I prayed, and understanding was given me; I called on God, and the spirit of wisdom came to me. I preferred her to sceptres and thrones, and I accounted wealth as nothing: in comparison with her. … 911All good things came to me along with her, and in her hands uncounted wealth. I rejoiced in them all, because wisdom leads them; but I did not know that she was their mother” (Wis 7:7-12). The text then describes the commercial successes of Solomon, as if to show the fulfilment of the promise of God. The abundance of gold in great quantities like pebbles in a rocky country, together with the observation that other people bring wealth to Jerusalem (9:24), shows the eschatological dimension and the particular benevolence of God towards Solomon. From the beginning he is blessed by God. And his response is the decision to build the temple, "Solomon decided to build a temple for the name of the Lord, and a royal palace for himself." It is the condition for being able to be in the presence of God, "to see" the glory and to praise him. The mission of Solomon is wholly inscribed in this realization. For the Chronicler the construction of the temple is the end purpose of the work of Solomon. Of course for now it is the building of a temple of stone, but already it stands as the figure of the future temple made of "living stones" which are based on the "corner stone": the community of believers gathered by Jesus.

Memory of the Church