Acts 7:47

ESV But it was Solomon who built a house for him.
NIV But it was Solomon who built a house for him.
NASB But it was Solomon who built a house for Him.
CSB It was Solomon, rather, who built him a house,
NLT But it was Solomon who actually built it.
KJV But Solomon built him an house.

What does Acts 7:47 mean?

Stephen, the Jewish Christian deacon, is defending himself against charges that he blasphemed Moses, God, the Mosaic law, and the temple, and that the man he follows, Jesus, claimed He would destroy the temple and abolish the Law (Acts 6:8–15). Stephen is tearing down their argument logically. In this section he points out that Moses had nothing to do with the temple. Solomon built it.

When the Israelites reached the Promised Land, the tabernacle settled in Shiloh. The tabernacle was a tent, built according to God's strict specifications, that served as the center of worship for the Jews (Exodus 25—27). When David became king and made Jerusalem his capital, he brought the ark of the covenant to Jerusalem and set it in a tent (2 Samuel 6:17). Shortly after, he asked God if he could build a temple—a permanent structure where the priests could offer sacrifices and God could be present.

Surprisingly, God told him no. Despite calling David the man after His own heart, God told David, "You have shed much blood and have waged great wars. You shall not build a house to my name, because you have shed so much blood before me on the earth" (1 Chronicles 22:8). God went on to say David's son Solomon would build the temple (1 Chronicles 22:9–10). Solomon did build the temple (1 Kings 5—8). And God accepted it, saying, "I have consecrated this house that you have built, by putting my name there forever. My eyes and my heart will be there for all time" (1 Kings 9:3).

The temple was not built until more than four hundred years after God gave Moses the plans for the tabernacle. God blessed the temple, but He didn't need it. Even more ironically, the temple was not built by Abraham or Moses or David but by Solomon. The structure designed to identify the proper way to worship God was built by the first king who drifted from God and worshiped idols and foreign gods (1 Kings 11:1–8).

Solomon built a house, but God inhabits eternity and dwells with "him who is of a contrite and lowly spirit" (Isaiah 57:15).
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