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We're struggling with 1 Kings 9, in particular verse 3 vs. verse 7. In verse 3:

“I have consecrated this Temple which you have built to place My name there forever, and My eyes and My heart shall be there at all times."

But then, right after, in verse 7:

"and this house which I have made sacrosanct for My Name will I dismiss from My presence"

Checking online I see this mostly interpreted as an either/or, but there are a lot of other places in the texts where we see "if [x] then [y] else [z]" whereas here it seems to be "Hey, this is for ever" and then "If you do this, it isn't for ever."

To me, it sort of reads like a contract, where the early clause is setting up all the good things, and the later clause is setting up all the conditions and consequences of violating the contract. But I can't really back that up. Any thoughts/references that might clarify?

  • I'm not exactly clear on what you are asking -- the house is established and then the condition is set -- if Solomon follows God, then good things, but if he doesn't then Israel gets thrown out and the house is destroyed. – rosends Aug 6 at 1:15
  • The phrasing is bugging her. She's pointing out that in other places it's very clear that something is conditional. This doesn't seem to be. But it seems like it's either conditional or contradictory. I have seen one or two translations that translate it as a future-perfect-continuous tense: The house HAS been blessed UP to this point. and will continue into the future (conditionally). That makes sense but I don't see that actually in the text. – user3810626 Aug 6 at 16:40
  • But the text in verse 4 says "if" -- part of the answer might be that the condition does not compromise the promise. V. 3 says God will consecrate the house and V. 7 speaks of the house as still having been consecrated even though it is pushed aside (the shechina still resides on har habayit). – rosends Aug 6 at 16:45
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You are correct, the Temple will continue only as long as the Children of Israel are faithful and will be destroyed if they are not faithful.

Rashi on I Melachim 9:3 explains:

and My eyes and My heart shall be there at all times: Jonathan rendered: And My Shechinah shall dwell there if My will is done.

And My eyes and My heart shall be there: if My heart and My will are there

This is actually conditioned on following and being faithful to Hashem so that He will not withdraw His Will from the building. Indeed as Rashi says in 9:7

and this house which I have made sacrosanct for My Name: There is a condition between Me and You, “If you heed not…” What is stated there? “I shall make desolate your sanctuaries” (Lev. 26:31).

The building shall remain it its state of holiness only as long as you are faithful to Hashem.

And in verse 8 Rashi says.

And this house will be exalted: as long as you have not sinned. And from the time you will sin, every passerby will be astounded and will hiss. And so it is written in Chron II 7:21: “And this house that was exalted by everyone who passed by it…” And this is its interpretation: And this house that was exalted and revered even by the gentiles, as is stated above: “And also to the gentile who is not of Your people…” (Chron. II 6:32), now in its destruction, everyone who passes by it, even the gentiles, will be astounded and will hiss, and will say that the Jews’ sins were the cause.

  • Thank you. I think she's having trouble with the fact that the first clause doesn't SOUND conditional. "Here it says 'forever', and then right after that it contradicts that. And there are lots of other places where the same condition occurs and it's always stated up fron.t" – user3810626 Aug 6 at 16:35

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