SOLOMON'S REQUEST FROM HIRAM
As the Lord had foretold to David, He worked upon Solomon's heart to make him determine to build both a temple for the Lord and a royal house for himself (v.1). Though David is also a type of Christ, he was not permitted to build the temple because he pictures Christ as a Man of war bringing the world into subjection to Him during the Tribulation period. The temple belongs to Christ's reign of peace, therefore Solomon was its builder.
The number of his workers was great indeed, - 70,000 to carry materials, 80,000 to work in the mountains to quarry stone and 3 600 supervisors. These workers being selected, then Solomon sent a message to Hiram king of Tyre, reminding him that he had sent timber of cedar to David for the building of David's personal house, and asking that Hiram would now send timber for the building of a much greater house, a house for the name of the Lord. He said this house would be dedicated to the Lord for the burning of sweet incense (speaking of worship), for the continual showbread (speaking of communion with God through the person of the Lord Jesus), and for burnt offerings morning and evening (picturing the sacrifice of Christ as bringing glory to His God and Father). Such offerings also were for special occasions, Sabbaths, New Moons and set feasts, as seen in Leviticus 23:4.
Solomon told Hiram the temple will be great because the God of Israel is greater than all the idolatrous gods of the nations (v.5). He realised also his unworthiness to build a temple for One so great, whom the heaven and the heaven of heavens cannot contain. The temple therefore could not be a proper representation of Him: indeed the only true representation of God is the Lord Jesus, but Solomon was building the temple only as a place of sacrifice to God (v, 6).
He asked Hiram to send him a skilful man able to work with gold, silver and iron, also with purple, crimson and blue fabrics, and a capable engraver (v.7). To find an expert in all these skills would certainly be amazing, but in Exodus 31:1-5 we read that God had given such ability to a man of Judah, Bezaleel, to supervise the building of the tabernacle. Each of these men is typical of the Holy Spirit of God who is in control of all the activities of the house of God. In the case of the tabernacle, since it was temporary, it was a man of Judah chosen for their work. But the temple speaks of the display of God's glory in the millennial age, when Gentiles will share with Israel in great blessing. Thus the working of the Spirit of God will include Gentiles.
As we have seen, in the millennium Gentiles will share with Israel in the great blessing that God brings to the world. Today, both Jewish and Gentile believers are joined together as the Church of God, one building growing into a holy temple in the Lord, for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit (Ephesians 2:19-22). Thus the Spirit of God produces a unity of Jewish and Gentile believers in the Church, far more vital than any measure of unity that will be seen between Jews and Gentiles in the millennium.
Solomon also asked Hiram for cedar, cypress and algum logs from Lebanon, since he knew that Hiram's servants were skilled in work with timber. He would also have his servants join with Hiram's servants in this work, another picture of the friendship between Jews and Gentiles in the millennium (vv.8-9).
In return for this service from Tyre, Solomon promised to give to Hiram's servants 20,000 cors of ground wheat, 20,000 of barley, 20,000 baths of wine and 20,000 baths of oil (v.10). This pictures the liberality of the Lord toward those who labour for the benefit of the building of the house of God today also, for He does provide everything necessary for their sustenance and enjoyment, and much more. Any labour that is done for the Lord will be more than graciously repaid.
The response of Hiram to Solomon's request was favourable and lovely. He wrote, "Because the Lord loves His people, He has made you king over them" (v.11). No thought of rivalry is apparent in his words, but rather of heartfelt thankfulness that God had given to David a wise and understanding son to reign over Israel. He recognised that Israel's God is the Maker of heaven and earth, and was pleased at Solomon's proposal to build a temple for this sovereign God as well as a house for himself (v, 12).
Hiram therefore was sending a skilful craftsman to supervise the work of building (v.13). Interestingly, while his father was a man of Tyre, his mother was an Israelite from the tribe of Dan (v.14). Again, the unity of Jews and Gentiles is emphasised here. This master craftsman is certainly a picture of the working of the Spirit of God in Jewish and Gentile believers, being proficient to work in gold (dealing with what speaks of the glory, of God), in silver (picturing the great truth of redemption by virtue of the sufferings of Christ), in bronze (or copper), (signifying the holiness of God), in iron (symbolising the power of God). But not only was he a metal worker, for he was proficient in working with wood. which pictures the work of the Spirit of God in believers, for trees are symbolical of mankind (Matthew 3:10).
This man is not named, for the Spirit of God does not draw attention to Himself: instead, He glorifies Christ (John 16:13-14). Yet he was also a proficient worker in fabrics, purple, which speaks of the royalty of the Lord Jesus as seen in Matthew; blue, picturing Christ as the Son of God come from heaven, as in John's Gospel; fine linen, symbolising the purity of the perfect manhood of the Lord Jesus, as is emphasised in Luke's Gospel, and crimson, expressing the attractiveness of His person as God's Servant, always doing His will, as Mark presents Him. All of these wonderful truths concerning the Lord Jesus are ministered by the Spirit of God and have great importance in the house of God today just as they did figuratively in Solomon's temple. Added to this is the making of engravings for the temple. Engravings are intended to preserve a permanent record, which indeed the Spirit of God does, for His work is eternal.
Hiram therefore asked that Solomon's arrangement should be carried out, with wheat, barley, oil and wine being sent by Solomon to Hiram and wood cut from Lebanon by the servants of Hiram, brought in rather by sea to Joppa, where Solomon's servants would take charge and bring them to Jerusalem (v.15-16).
RESIDENT ALIENS EMPLOYED IN THE WORK
Gentiles from outside Israel were willing to help in the building of Israel's temple, but there were also Gentiles residing in the land. They were not left unemployed, but employed by Solomon in the work of the temple. In numbering these, Solomon found a total of 153,000. This may seem a large number for whom to find work, and specially when it involved the erection of only two buildings. But the size and the elaborate details of these buildings required such numbers. We may think of construction methods today not requiring such numbers, but the labour at that time was all hand labour, which is much slower and more arduous work than that of present-day construction. 70,000 of these Gentiles were to bear burdens, which would include the carrying of lumber from Joppa to Jerusalem and the carrying of stone from the quarries to the site of the temple and Solomon's house. 80,000 were employed as stone-cutters in the mountains. Of course, these worked in shifts. The remaining 3,600 were used as supervisors of the, work (v.18).
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Grant, L. M. "Commentary on 2 Chronicles 2". L.M. Grant's Commentary on the Bible. https://www.studylight.org/
the Second Week after Epiphany