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Bible Commentaries

Peake's Commentary on the Bible

1 Kings 5

Verses 1-18

1 Kings 5:1-18 . Solomon’ s Alliance with Hiram. Preparation for the Temple.— This chapter has a few Deuteronomic additions ( 1 Kings 5:3-5 and 1 Kings 5:12). In 1 Kings 5:4 there is a truly Deuteronomic touch: the one sanctuary could not come into existence till God had given the people rest ( 2 Samuel 7:11; Deuteronomy 12:9; Deuteronomy 25:19).

The alliance was of mutual importance to the Israelites and the Tyrians. The corn-growing districts of N. Palestine were the granary of the Phœ nicians in the time of Solomon ( 1 Kings 5:9), as in the days of the Herods ( Acts 12:20). David had made a treaty with Tyre ( 2 Samuel 5:11). Zidon was probably the older city, and Hiram’ s people are called, in 1 Kings 5:6, Zidonians. The Tyrian trade was very extensive, and had reached to the Atlantic, and even to our own islands, in search of the tin mines. Hiram helped Solomon in his trade with the East (see below). Owing to the reading of the LXX, “ And Hiram king of Tyre sent his servants to anoint Solomon,” it has been supposed that Israel was a subject nation. There is, however, no hint of this elsewhere in the Bible. Tyre is the subject of two great prophecies (Isaiah 23 and Ezekiel 27). In Ezekiel there is a striking description of the trade and prosperity of the great city. From the prophets we see that Israel looked on Tyre as the home of a civilisation greatly superior to their own. The skill of the Phœ nician workmen ( 1 Kings 5:6) is confirmed by the testimony of Homer, Herodotus, and Strabo. Hiram was apparently overlord of the Phœ nician coast and Zidon.

Hiram’ s name is variously spelt as Hiram, Hirom, and Huram; Josephus calls him Eiromos. The name is Phœ nician, and was probably Ahi-ram, “ brother of the exalted one” (Stenning in HDB). Josephus declares ( Ant. viii.) that copies of the letters between Hiram and Solomon were preserved in the Tyrian archives. He also ( Apion, i. 1 Kings 17:18) quotes the historians Dius and Menander of Ephesus, who say that Hiram was son of king Abibalus (Abi-baal) and therefore plainly an historical personage. Hiram provided timber for Solomon, which was brought on rafts to Joppa ( 2 Chronicles 2:16), and in return Solomon supplied him with wheat and beaten oil— i.e. oil of the finest kind ( 1 Kings 5:11).

1 Kings 5:13-18 relates to Solomon’ s “ levy” of forced service under Adoniram (or Adoram; see 1 Kings 4:6). The great stones were hewed by the servants of Hiram and the Gebalites. The LXX (B) omits the verse, and reads for Gebalites Biblioi ( Ezekiel 27:9); the AV has “ stone-squarers.” Gebal is a city on the sea at the foot of Lebanon. The modern name is Jubeil. The reading of 1 Kings 5:18 is very doubtful.

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Bibliographical Information
Peake, Arthur. "Commentary on 1 Kings 5". "Peake's Commentary on the Bible ". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/pfc/1-kings-5.html. 1919.