Luke 2:1–20; Ephesians 3:14–21; Psalm 119:41–48; 1 Kings 9–10

The Birth of Jesus Christ

In those days la decree went out from mCaesar Augustus that all the world should be nregistered. This was the first nregistration when1 Quirinius owas governor of Syria. And all went to be registered, each to his own town. And Joseph also went up pfrom Galilee, from the town of qNazareth, to Judea, to rthe city of David, which is called sBethlehem, tbecause he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed,2 who was with child. And twhile they were there, the time came for her to give birth. And she gave birth to her firstborn son and uwrapped him in swaddling cloths and vlaid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in wthe inn.3

The Shepherds and the Angels

And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord xappeared to them, and ythe glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear. 10 And the angel said to them, Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all zthe people. 11 For aunto you is born this day in bthe city of David ca Savior, who is dChrist ethe Lord. 12 And fthis will be a sign for you: you will find a baby gwrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger. 13 And suddenly there was with the angel ha multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,

14  iGlory to God jin the highest,

jand on earth kpeace lamong those with whom he is pleased!4

15 When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us. 16 And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby mlying in a manger. 17 And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child. 18 And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them. 19 But nMary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart. 20 And the shepherds returned, oglorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.


Prayer for Spiritual Strength

14 For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, 15 from whom wevery family1 in heaven and on earth is named, 16 that according to xthe riches of his glory yhe may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit zin your inner being, 17 aso that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faiththat you, being brooted and cgrounded in love, 18 may have strength to dcomprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and eheight and depth, 19 and to know the love of Christ fthat surpasses knowledge, that gyou may be filled with all hthe fullness of God.

20 iNow to jhim who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, kaccording to the power at work within us, 21 lto him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.


Waw

41  Let your usteadfast love come to me, O Lord,

your salvation vaccording to your promise;

42  then wshall I have an answer for him rwho taunts me,

for I trust in your word.

43  And take not the word of truth utterly out of my mouth,

for my xhope is in your rules.

44  I will keep your law continually,

forever and ever,

45  and I shall walk yin a wide place,

for I have zsought your precepts.

46  I will also speak of your testimonies abefore kings

and shall not be put to shame,

47  for I bfind my delight in your commandments,

which I love.

48  I will clift up my hands toward your commandments, which I love,

and I will dmeditate on your statutes.


The Lord Appears to Solomon

jAs soon as Solomon had finished building the house of the Lord kand the king’s house and lall that Solomon desired to build, mthe Lord appeared to Solomon a second time, as he had appeared to him at Gibeon. And the Lord said to him, I have heard your prayer and your plea, which you have made before me. I have consecrated this house that you have built, nby putting my name there forever. oMy eyes and my heart will be there for all time. And as for you, if you will pwalk before me, qas David your father walked, with integrity of heart and uprightness, doing according to all that I have commanded you, and keeping my statutes and my rules, rthen I will establish your royal throne over Israel forever, as I promised David your father, saying, You shall not lack a man on the throne of Israel. sBut if you turn aside from following me, you or your children, and do not keep my commandments and my statutes that I have set before you, but go and serve other gods and worship them, tthen I will cut off Israel from the land that I have given them, uand the house that I have consecrated for my name I will cast out of my sight, vand Israel will become a proverb and a byword among all peoples. And this house will become a heap of ruins.1 Everyone passing by it will be astonished and will hiss, and they will say, wWhy has the Lord done thus to this land and to this house? Then they will say, Because xthey abandoned the Lord their God who brought their fathers out of the land of Egypt and laid hold on other gods and worshiped them and served them. Therefore the Lord has brought all this disaster on them.

Solomon’s Other Acts

10 yAt the end of ztwenty years, in which Solomon had built the two houses, the house of the Lord and the king’s house, 11 and Hiram king of Tyre had supplied Solomon with cedar and cypress timber and gold, as much as he desired, King Solomon gave to Hiram twenty cities in the land of Galilee. 12 But when Hiram came from Tyre to see the cities that Solomon had given him, they did not please him. 13 Therefore he said, What kind of cities are these that you have given me, my brother? So they are called the land of aCabul to this day. 14 Hiram had sent to the king 120 talents2 of gold.

15 And this is the account of bthe forced labor that King Solomon drafted to build the house of the Lord and his own house and cthe Millo and the wall of Jerusalem and dHazor and eMegiddo and Gezer 16 (Pharaoh king of Egypt had gone up and captured Gezer and burned it with fire, and had killed fthe Canaanites who lived in the city, and had given it as dowry to ghis daughter, Solomon’s wife; 17 so Solomon rebuilt Gezer) and hLower Beth-horon 18 and Baalath and Tamar in the wilderness, in the land of Judah,3 19 and all the store cities that Solomon had, and ithe cities for his chariots, and the cities for jhis horsemen, and whatever Solomon kdesired to build in Jerusalem, in Lebanon, and in all the land of his dominion. 20 All the people who were left of the Amorites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites, who were not of the people of Israel 21 ltheir descendants who were left after them in the land, mwhom the people of Israel were unable to devote to destruction4nthese Solomon drafted to be oslaves, and so they are to this day. 22 But pof the people of Israel Solomon made no slaves. They were the soldiers, they were his officials, his commanders, his captains, his chariot commanders and his horsemen.

23 These were the chief officers who were over Solomon’s work: q550 rwho had charge of the people who carried on the work.

24 But gPharaoh’s daughter went up from the city of David to sher own house that Solomon had built for her. tThen he built uthe Millo.

25 Three times a year Solomon used to offer up burnt offerings and peace offerings on the altar that he built to the Lord, making offerings with it5 before the Lord. So he finished the house.

26 King Solomon built a fleet of ships at vEzion-geber, which is near Eloth on the shore of the Red Sea, in the land of Edom. 27 And Hiram sent wwith the fleet his servants, seamen who were familiar with the sea, together with the servants of Solomon. 28 And they went to xOphir and brought from there gold, 420 talents, and they brought it to King Solomon.

The Queen of Sheba

10 yNow when zthe queen of aSheba heard of the fame of Solomon concerning the name of the Lord, she came bto test him with hard questions. She came to Jerusalem with a very great retinue, with camels cbearing spices and very much gold and precious stones. And when she came to Solomon, she told him all that was on her mind. And Solomon answered all her questions; there was nothing hidden from the king that he could not explain to her. And when the queen of Sheba had seen all the wisdom of Solomon, the house that he had built, the food of his table, the seating of his officials, and the attendance of his servants, their clothing, his cupbearers, and his burnt offerings that he offered at the house of the Lord, there was no more breath in her.

And she said to the king, The report was true that I heard in my own land of your words and of your wisdom, but I did not believe the reports until I came and my own eyes had seen it. And behold, the half was not told me. Your wisdom and prosperity surpass the report that I heard. eHappy are your men! Happy are your servants, who continually stand before you and hear your wisdom! fBlessed be the Lord your God, who has delighted in you and set you on the throne of Israel! gBecause the Lord loved Israel forever, he has made you king, hthat you may execute justice and righteousness. 10 iThen she gave the king 120 talents6 of gold, and a very great quantity of spices and precious stones. Never again came such an abundance of spices as these that the queen of Sheba gave to King Solomon.

11 Moreover, jthe fleet of Hiram, which brought kgold from Ophir, brought from Ophir a very great amount of almug wood and precious stones. 12 And the king made of the almug wood supports for the house of the Lord and for the king’s house, also lyres and harps for the singers. No such almug wood has come or been seen to this day.

13 And King Solomon gave to the queen of Sheba all that she desired, whatever she asked besides what was given her by the bounty of King Solomon. So she turned and went back to her own land with her servants.

Solomon’s Great Wealth

14 lNow the weight of gold that came to Solomon in one year was 666 talents of gold, 15 besides that which came from the explorers and from the business of the merchants, and from all the kings of the west and from the governors of the land. 16 King Solomon made 200 large shields of beaten gold; 600 shekels7 of gold went into each shield. 17 And he made 300 mshields of beaten gold; three minas8 of gold went into each shield. And the king put them in nthe House of the Forest of Lebanon. 18 The king also made a great ivory throne and overlaid it with the finest gold. 19 The throne had six steps, and the throne had a round top,9 and on each side of the seat were armrests and two lions standing beside the armrests, 20 while twelve lions stood there, one on each end of a step on the six steps. The like of it was never made in any kingdom. 21 All King Solomon’s drinking vessels were of gold, and all the vessels of nthe House of the Forest of Lebanon were of pure gold. None were of silver; silver was not considered as anything in the days of Solomon. 22 For the king had oa fleet of ships of Tarshish at sea with the fleet of Hiram. Once every three years the fleet of ships of Tarshish used to come bringing gold, silver, ivory, apes, and peacocks.10

23 pThus King Solomon excelled all the kings of the earth in riches and in wisdom. 24 And the whole earth sought the presence of Solomon to hear his wisdom, which God had put into his mind. 25 Every one of them brought his present, articles of silver and gold, garments, myrrh,11 spices, horses, and mules, so much year by year.

26 qAnd Solomon gathered together rchariots and horsemen. He had 1,400 chariots and 12,000 horsemen, whom he stationed in the schariot cities and with the king in Jerusalem. 27 And the king made silver as common in Jerusalem as stone, and he made cedar as plentiful as tthe sycamore of the Shephelah. 28 And Solomon’s uimport of horses was from Egypt and Kue, and the king’s traders received them from Kue at a price. 29 A chariot could be imported from Egypt for 600 shekels of silver and a horse for 150, and so through the king’s traders they were exported to all the kings of vthe Hittites and the kings of Syria.