Solomon's Message to Huram
v. 1. And Solomon determined to build an house for the name of the Lord, he made arrangements to carry out the last wishes of his father, and an house for his kingdom, a royal palace to display all his wealth and power.
v. 2. Arid Solomon told out, raised by conscription, threescore and ten thousand men to bear burdens, in the actual erection of the Temple, and fourscore thousand to hew in the mountain, in preparing the stones and the lumber, and three thousand and six hundred to oversee them. This preliminary note indicates at once the magnitude of the undertaking.
v. 3. And Solomon sent to Huram (or Hiram), the king of Tyre, saying, As thou didst deal with David, my father, and didst send him cedars to build him an house to dwell therein, 1Ch_14:1, even so deal with me, he was anxious to have the friendly relationship with all that it implied continue.
v. 4. Behold, I build an house to the name of the Lord, my God, to dedicate it to Him, set it aside for His worship, and to burn before Him sweet incense, literally, "to perfume before His face sweet spices," as it was done in the morning and the evening worship, Exo_25:6, and for the continual showbread, which was always placed on the special table in the Holy Place, Exo_25:30, and for the burnt offerings morning and evening, on the Sabbaths, and on the new moons, and on the solemn feasts of the Lord, our God, Num_28:29; 1Ch_23:31. This is an ordinance forever to Israel, and therefore the Temple he proposed to build must be a solid and permanent building, made of the most durable materials.
v. 5. And. the house which I build is great; for great is our God above all gods; its magnificence should, in away, express the incomparable greatness of the true God.
v. 6. But who is able to build Him an house, that is, one in which He would actually dwell, in which He would be enclosed as the heathen idols were in their shrines, seeing the heaven and heaven of heavens cannot contain Him? Who am I, then, that I should build Him an house, save only to burn sacrifice before Him? So the purpose of the Temple was merely to be that of serving as a house where Jehovah's worshipers might sacrifice to His honor.
v. 7. Send me now, therefore, a man cunning to work in gold, and in silver, and in brass, and in iron, an artist familiar with the work in all precious metals, and in purple, and crimson, and blue, true purple, scarlet-red, and hyacinth being the three dyes in whose preparation the Tyrians were most skilful, and that can skill to grave with the cunning men that are with me in Judah and in Jerusalem, whom David, my father, did provide. This last craft probably included not only engraving in stone, but also wood-carving and even embroidery of figures in needlework. In all these arts the superintendent desired by Solomon should excel.
v. 8. Send me also cedar-trees, fir trees, that is, cypresses, and algum-trees, sandal-wood, out of Lebanon, the last-named, though not growing in the mountains, being procured by Huram as an article of commerce; for I know that thy servants can skill to cut timber in Lebanon, for that was one of the chief industries of the country. And, behold, my servants shall be with thy servants,
v. 9. even to prepare me timber in abundance; for the house which I am about to build shall be wonderful great, literally, "great and wonderful. "
v. 10. And, behold, I will give to thy servants, the hewers that cut timber, twenty thousand measures (about one hundred and sixty thousand bushels) of beaten wheat, roasted grain in this form being a staple article of food in the Orient, and twenty thousand measures of barley, and twenty thousand baths (about 1,300,000 gallons) of wine, and twenty thousand baths of oil. The reference here is not to the yearly contribution which Solomon sent to Tyre during the construction of the Temple, 1Ki_5:18, but to the food for the laborers in the mountains. Solomon, as a wise king, counted the cost first before he began the work of construction, but he also went forward with all energy after being assured on this point.
Huram's Kind Answer
v. 11. Then Huram, the king of Tyre, having received Solomon's message delivered to him in the form of a letter, answered in writing, which he sent to Solomon, Because the Lord hath loved His people, He hath made thee king over them; for wise and good kings are a gift of His merciful goodness.
v. 12. Huram said moreover. Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, with whose worship he was evidently familiar, having accepted the true God in faith, that made heaven and earth, who hath given to David the king a wise son, endued with prudence and understanding, not a dead knowledge, but one which readily adjusted itself to any situation, that might build an house for the Lord and an house for his kingdom.
v. 13. And now I have sent a cunning man, an artist such as Solomon desired accompanied the embassy to Jerusalem, endued with understanding, of Huram, my father's, the master's name itself being Huram, like that of the king, 1Ki_7:13,
v. 14. the son of a woman of the daughters of Dan, and his father was a man of Tyre, skilful to work in gold and in silver, in brass, in iron, in stone, and in timber, in purple, in blue, and in fine linen, and in crimson; also to grave any manner of graving, and to find out every device, to work out any pattern, which shall be put to him with thy cunning men, and with the cunning men of my lord David, thy father. The artist selected by Huram not only met all the requirements of Solomon, but even exceeded them.
v. 15. Now, therefore, the wheat and the barley, the oil and the wine, which my lord hath spoken of, let him send unto his servants;
v. 16. and we will cut wood out of Lebanon, as much as thou shalt need; and we will bring it to thee in floats, huge rafts, by sea to Joppa, along the shores of the Mediterranean; and thou shalt carry it up to Jerusalem, the distance which the lumber had to be hauled over land being some thirty miles.
v. 17. And Solomon numbered all the strangers that were in the land of Israel, the members and descendants of heathen nations in the midst of Israel, after the numbering wherewith David, his father, had numbered them, 1Ch_22:2; and they were found an hundred and fifty thousand and three thousand and six hundred.
v. 18. And he set threescore and ten thousand of them to be bearers of burdens, and fourscore thousand to be hewers in the mountain, both to hew stones and to fell timber, and three thousand and six hundred overseers to set the people a work, this being the total number, of which three thousand were non-Israelites, the others, both of the lower and of the higher rank, being Israelites. Note: Solomon is a type of Christ, who also built a great temple to the Lord, not of wood and stone and precious metals, but of believers in His blood. And all servants of Christ are called to assist in erecting this wonderful temple of the Lord.
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Kretzmann, Paul E. Ph. D., D. D. "Commentary on 2 Chronicles 2". "Kretzmann's Popular Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/
the Second Week after Epiphany