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SOLOMON AND HIRAM—The somewhat detailed description which we have had in 1 Kings 4:1-11.4.34. of Solomon's pomp and power and wisdom, is followed in 1 Kings 5:1-11.5.18. sqq. by an account of what, in Jewish eyes, was the great undertaking of his reign, and, indeed, the great glory of Hebrew history—the erection and adornment of the Temple. And as this was largely due to the assistance he received both in the shape of materials and labourers—from the Tyrian king, we have in the first place an account of his alliance with Hiram.
1 Kings 5:1
And Hiram (In 1 Kings 5:10, 1 Kings 5:18, the name is spelled Hirom (חִירוֹם), whilst in Chronicles, with one exception (1 Chronicles 14:1, where the Keri, however, follows the prevailing usage), the name appears as Huram (חוּרָם). In Josephus it is Εἰρωμος. This prince and his friendly relations with the Jews are referred to by the Tyrian historians, of whose materials the Greek writers Dins and Menander of Ephesus (temp. Alexander the Great) availed themselves. According to Dins (quoted by Josephus contr. Apion, 1.17) Hiram was the son of Abibaal. Menander states that the building of the temple was commenced in the twelfth year of Hiram's reign, which lasted 34 years. Hiram is further said to have married his daughter to Solomon and to have engaged with him in an intellectual encounter which took the shape of riddles] king of Tyre [Heb. צוֹר, rock, so called because of the rocky island on which old Tyro was built, sometimes called מִבְצַר צֹר, the fortress of, or fortified Tyro (Joshua 19:29; 2 Samuel 24:7, etc.) The capital of Phoenicia. In earlier times, Sidon would seem to have been the more important town; hence the Canaanites who inhabited this region were generally called Zidonians, as in verse 6] sent his servants [legatos, Vatablus] unto Solomon [The Vat. LXX. has here a strange reading, "To anoint Solomon," etc. The object of this embassy was evidently to recognize and congratulate the youthful king (the Syriac has a gloss, "and he blessed him," which well represents one object of the embassy) and at the same time to make overtures of friendship. An alliance, or good understanding, with Israel was then, as at a later period (Acts 12:20) of great importance to them of Tyre and Sidon. Their narrow strip of seaboard furnished no corn lands, so that their country depended upon Israel for its nourishment]; for he had heard that they had anointed him king in the room of David his father [i.e; he had heard of the death of David and the accession of Solomon; possibly of the events narrated in Hebrews 1:1-58.1.14.]: for Hiram was ever [Heb. all the days: i.e; of their reigns; so long as they were contemporary sovereigns] a lover of David.
1 Kings 5:2
And Solomon sent to Hiram. [According to Josephus (Ant. 8.2. 6), he wrote a letter, which together with Hiram's reply (1 Kings 5:8) was preserved among the public archives of Tyro. The account of 2 Chronicles 2:1-14.2.18; which as a rule is more detailed than that of the Kings, begins here. It does not notice, that is to say, the prior embassy of the Phoenician king, as the object of the chronicler is merely to narrate the measures taken for the erection of the temple], saying [The return embassy gave Solomon the opportunity to ask for the timber, etc; that he desired.]
1 Kings 5:3
Thou knowest how that David my father could not build an house [Hiram could not fail to know this, as his relations with David had been close and intimate. Not only had he "sent cedar trees and carpenters and masons" to build David's house (2 Samuel 5:11), but "they of Tyro brought much cedar wood to David" (1 Chronicles 22:4) for the house of the Lord] unto the name of the Lord [i.e; to be dedicated to the Lord as His shrine and habitation (cf. Deuteronomy 12:5, Deuteronomy 12:11; and Deuteronomy 8:18, Deuteronomy 8:19, Deuteronomy 8:20, etc.)] for the wars [Heb; war. As we have singular noun and plural verb, Ewald, Rawlinson, al. assume that war stands for adversaries, as the next clause seems to imply. Bähr and Keil, however, with greater reason, interpret, "for the war with which they surrounded him;" a construction (סָבַב with double accusative) which is justified by Psalms 109:3] until the Lord put them under the soles of his feet [until, i.e; He trampled them down. The same image is found in some of David's psalms, e.g; Psalms 7:5; Psalms 60:12; cf. Psalms 8:6; Psalms 91:13; Isaiah 63:3; Romans 16:20; Ephesians 1:22; Hebrews 2:8.]
1 Kings 5:4
But now the Lord my God hath given me rest [In fulfilment of the promise of 1 Chronicles 22:9. David had had a brief rest (2 Samuel 7:1), Solomon's was permanent. He was "a man of rest"] on every side [Heb. round about, same word as in verse 3, and in 1 Chronicles 22:9], so that there is neither adversary [Hadad and Rezon, of whom this word is used (1 Kings 11:14, 1 Kings 11:23), apparently belonged to a somewhat later period of his reign] nor evil occurrent [Rather, "occurrence," or "plague" (פֶגֵע), i.e; "rebellion, famine, pestilence, or other suffering" (Bähr). David had had many such "occurrences" (2 Samuel 15:14; 2 Samuel 20:1; 2 Samuel 21:1; 2 Samuel 24:15).]
1 Kings 5:5
And, behold, I purpose [Heb. behold me saying (אָמַר, with infin, expresses purpose. Cf. Exodus 2:14; 2 Samuel 21:16)] to build an house unto the name of the Lord my God, as the Lord spake unto David my father, saying [2Sa 7:12, 2 Samuel 7:13. He thus gives Hiram to understand that he is carrying out his father's plans, and plans which had the Divine sanction, and that this is no fanciful project of a young prince], Thy son whom I will set upon thy throne in thy room, he shall build an [Heb. the] house unto my name.
1 Kings 5:6
Now therefore command thou that they hew me cedar trees out of Lebanon [Heb. the Lebanon, i.e; the White (so. mountain). "It is the Merit Blanc of Palestine" (Porter); but whether it is so called because of its summits of snow or because of the colour of its limestone is uncertain. Practically, the cedars are now found in one place only, though Ehrenberg is said to have found them in considerable numbers to the north of the road between Baalbek and Tripoli. "At the head of Wady Kadisha there is a vast recess in the central ridge of Lebanon, some eight miles in diameter. Above it rise the loftiest summits in Syria, streaked with perpetual snow… In the very centre of this recess, on a little irregular knoll, stands the clump of cedars", over 6,000 feet above the level of the sea. It would seem as if that part of Lebanon where the cedars grew belonged to Hiram's dominion. "The northern frontier of Canaan did not reach as far as Bjerrsh" (Keil), where the cedar grove is now. The idea of some older writers that the cedars belonged to Solomon, and that he only asked Hiram for artificers ("that they hew me cedar trees," etc.) is negatived by verse 10. It is true that "all Lebanon" was given to Israel (Joshua 13:5), but they did not take it. They did not drive out the Zidonians (verse 6; Judges 1:31) or possess" the land of the Giblites" (verse 5; Judges 3:3). It should be stated here, however, that the cedar of Scripture probably included other varieties than that which now, alone bears the name (see on verse 8)], and my servants shall be with Shy servants [i.e; sharing and lightening the work]: and unto thee will I give hire for thy servants [Solomon engaged to pay and did pay both Hiram and his subjects for the services of the latter, and he paid both in kind. See below, on verse 11] according to all that thou shalt appoint [This would seem to have been 20,000 measures of wheat and 20 measures of pure oil annually, verse 11]: for thou knowest that there is not among us any that can skill [Heb. knoweth, same word as before] to hew timber like unto the Zidonlans [Propter vicina nemora. Grotius, Sidou (Heb. צִידוֹן), means "fishing." See note on verse 18. By profane, as well as sacred writers, the Phoenicians are often described by the name Zidonians, no doubt for the reason mentioned in the note on verse 1. See Homer, Iliad 6:290; 23. 743; Odys. 4:84, 618; 17:4.24. Cf. Virg. AEn. 1. 677, 678; 4:545, etc. Genesis 10:15; Judges 1:31; Judges 3:3; 1Ki 11:1, 1 Kings 11:33, etc. "The mechanical skill of the Phoenicians generally, and of the Zidonians in particular, is noticed by many ancient writers," Rawlinson, who cites instances in his note. But what deserves especial notice here is the fact that the Zidonians constructed their houses of wood, and were celebrated from the earliest times as skilful builders. The fleets which the Phoenicians constructed for purposes of commerce would ensure them a supply of clever workmen. Wordsworth aptly remarks on the part the heathen thus took in rearing a temple for the God of Jacob. Cf. Isaiah 60:10, Isaiah 60:13.]
1 Kings 5:7
And It came to pass, when Hiram heard the words of Solomon [reported by his ambassadors], that he rejoiced greatly [see note on 1 Kings 5:1. The continuance of the entente cordiale was ensured], and said, Blessed be the Lord [In 2 Chronicles 2:12, "Blessed be the Lord God of Israel that made heaven and earth." We are not warranted by the expression of the text in concluding that Hiram believed in the exclusive divinity of the God of Israel, or "identified Jehovah with Melkarth his god" (Rawlinson), much less that he was proselyte to the faith of David and Solomon. All that is certain is that he believed the Jehovah as God was quite compatible with the retention of a firm faith in Baa1 and Astarte. It is also possible that he here adopts a language which he knew would be acceptable to Solomon, or the historian may have given us his thoughts in a Hebrew dread It is noticeable that the LXX. has simply εὐλογητὸς ὁ θεὸς] which hath given unto David a wise son [Compare 1 Kings 1:48; 1 Kings 2:9. The proof of wisdom lay in Solomon's fulfilling his wise father's purposes, and in his care for the worship of God. "Wise," however, is not used here in the sense of "pious," as Bähr affirms. In Hiram's lips the word meant discreet, sagacious. He would hardly recognize the fear of the Lord as the beginning of wisdom] over this great people.
1 Kings 5:8
And Hiram sent to Solomon [in writing, 2 Chronicles 2:11. It is instructive to remember in connexion with this fact that, according to the universal belief of antiquity, the use of letters, i.e; the art of writing, was communicated to the Greeks by the Phoenicians. Gesenius, indeed, holds that the invention of letters is also due to them. See the interesting remarks of Mr. Twisleton, Dict. Bib. 2. pp. 866-868], saying, I have considered the things which thou sentest unto me for [Heb. heard the things (i.e; message) which thou sentest unto me]: and I will do all thy desire concerning [Heb. in, i.e; as to] timber [or trees] of cedar [Heb. cedars] and timber of fir [Heb. trees of cypresses. This is, perhaps, the proper place to inquire what. trees are intended by the words אֶרֶז, and בְּרושׁ, here respectively translated" cedar" and "fir." As to the first, it is impossible to restrict the word to the one species (Pinus cedrus or Cedrus Libani) which is now known as the cedar of Lebanon, or, indeed, to any single plant. That the Cedrus Libani, one of the most magnificent of trees, is meant in such passages as Ezekiel 31:1-26.31.18; Psalms 92:12, etc; admits of no manner of doubt. It is equally clear, however, that in other passages the term "cedar" must refer to some other tree. In Numbers 19:6, and Le Numbers 14:6, e.g; the juniper would seem to be meant. "The cedar could not have been procured in the desert without great difficulty, but the juniper (Juniperus oxycedrus) is most plentiful there." In Ezekiel 27:5, "they have taken cedars of Lebanon to make masts for thee," it is probable that the Pinus Halepensis, not, as was formerly thought, the Scotch fir (Pinus sylvestris), is intended. The Cedrus Libani appears to be indifferently adapted to any such purpose, for which, however, the Pinus Halepensis is eminently fitted. But in the text, as throughout ch. 5-8; the reference, it can hardly be doubted, is to the Cedrus Libani. It is true the wood of this species is neither beautiful nor remarkably durable. Dr. Lindley calls it the "worthless, though magnificent cedar," but the former adjective, however true it may be of English-grown cedar, cannot justly be applied to the tree of the Lebanon mountain. The writer has some wood in his possession, brought by him from the Lebanon, and though it has neither fragrance nor veining, it is unmistakably a hard and resinous wood. And it should be remembered that it was only employed by Solomon in the interior of the temple, and was there, for the most part, overlaid with gold, and that the climate of Palestine is much less destructive than our own. There seems to be no sufficient reason, therefore, for rejecting the traditional and till recently universal belief that the Cedrus Libani was the timber chosen for the temple use. Mr. Houghton, in Smith's Dict. Bib; vol. 3. App. A. p. 40; who speaks of it "as being κατ ἐξοχὴν, the firmest and grandest of the conifers," says at the same time that "it has no particular quality to recommend it for building purposes; it was probably therefore not very extensively used in the construction of the temple." But no other tree can be suggested which better suits the conditions of the sacred narrative. The deodara, which has found favour with some writers, it is now positively stated, does not grow near the Lebanon. It may be added that, under the name of Eres, the yew was probably included. The timber used in the palaces of Nineveh, which was long believed to be cedar, is now proved to be yew (Dict. Bib; art. "Cedar"). However it is certain that אֶרֶז is a nomen generale which includes, at any rate, the pine, the cedar, and the juniper, in confirmation of which it may be mentioned that at the present day, "the name arz is applied by the Arabs to all three" (Royle, in Kitto's Cyclop; art. "Eres").
The Grove of Cedars now numbers about 450 trees, great and small. Of these about a dozen are of prodigious size and considerable antiquity, possibly carrying us back (as the natives think) to the time of Solomon. Their precise age, however, can only be a matter of conjecture.
The identification of the "fir" is even more precarious than that of the cedar. Celsius would see in this the true cedar of Lebanon. Others identify it with the juniper (Juniperus excelsa) or with the Pinus Halepensis, but most writers (among whom are Keil and Bähr) believe the evergreen cypress (Cupressus sempervirens) to be intended. Very probably the name Berosh comprehended two or three different species, as the cypress, the juniper, and the savine. The first named grows even near the summits of the mountain. Bähr says it is inferior to cedar (but see above). According to Winer, it is well fitted for building purposes, as" it is not eaten by worms, and is almost imperishable and very light." It is certainly of a harder and closer grain, and more durable than the Cedrus Libani.
It shows the brevity of our account that Solomon has not mentioned his desire for "fir" as well as" cedar." This is disclosed in Hiram's reply, and in the parallel passage of the chronicler. It is also to be noticed that in the text the request for materials is more prominently brought to view, while in Chronicles the petition is for workmen.
1 Kings 5:9
My servants shall bring them [No word in the Hebrew; "Timber of Cedar," etc; must be supplied or understood from the preceding verse] down [It is generally a steep descent from the cedar grove, and indeed all the Lebanon district, to the coast] from Lebanon unto the sea [This must have been a great undertaking. The cedars are ten hours distant from Tripoli, and the road must always have been a bad one. To the writer it appeared to be the most rugged and dangerous road in Palestine. It is possible that the timber was collected and floated at Gebal (Biblus. See note on 1 Kings 5:18). Beyrout, the present port of the Lebanon, Isaiah 27:0 hours distant via Tripoli. But cedars would then, no doubt, be found nearer the sea. And the ancients (as the stones of Baalbek, etc; prove) were not altogether deficient in mechanical appliances. The transport of cedars to the Mediterranean would be an easy undertaking compared with the carriage of them to Nineveh, and we know from the inscriptions that they were imported by the Assyrian kings] and I will convey them by sea in floats [Heb. "I will make (or put) them rafts in the sea." This was the primitive, as it was the obvious, way, of conveying timber, among Greeks and Romans, as well as among Eastern races. The reader will probably have seen such rafts on the Rhine or other river] unto the place which thou shalt appoint [Heb. send] me [In 2 Chronicles 2:16, Hiram assumes that this place will be Joppa, now Yafo, the port of Jerusalem, and 40 miles distant from the Holy City. The transport over these 40 miles, also of most rugged and trying road, must have involved, if possible, a still greater toil than that from Lebanon to the sea] and will cause them to be discharged there, and thou shalt receive them: and thou shalt accomplish [Heb. do, same word as in verse 8, and probably used designedly—"I will perform thy desire.; and thou shalt perform my desire." There shall be a strict quid pro quo] my desire, in giving food for my household [Hiram states in his reply in what shape he would prefer the hire promised by Solomon (verse 6). The food for the royal household must be carefully distinguished from the food given to the workmen (2 Chronicles 2:10). The fact that 20,000 ears of wheat formed a part of each has led to their being confounded. It is noticeable that when the second temple was built, cedar wood was again brought to Jerusalem, rid Joppa, in return for "meat and drink and oil unto them of Zidon" (Ezra 3:7). The selection of food as the hire of his servants by Hiram almost amounts to an undesigned coincidence. Their narrow strip of cornland, between the roots of Lebanon and the coast—Phoenicia proper ("the great plain of the city of Sidon," Josephus. Ant. 5.3, 1) is only 28 miles long, with an average breadth of one mile-compelled the importation of corn and oil. Ezekiel (Ezekiel 27:17) mentions wheat, honey, oil, and balm as exported from Palestine to the markets of Tyre. It has been justly remarked that the fact that Phoenicia was thus dependent upon Palestine for its breadstuffs explains the unbroken peace that prevailed between the two countries.
1 Kings 5:10
So Hiram gave [Heb. kept giving, supplied] Solomon cedar trees and fir [or cypress] trees, according to all his desire.
1 Kings 5:11
And Solomon gave Hiram twenty thousand measures [Heb. cots. See 1 Kings 4:22] of wheat for food [מכלת for מאכלת] to his household [Rawlinson remarks that this was much less than Solomon's own consumption (1 Kings 4:22). But he did not undertake to feed Hiram's entire court, but merely to make an adequate return for the timber and labour he received. And the consumption of fine flour in Solomon's household was only about 11,000 cors per annum] and twenty measures of pure oil [lit; beaten oil, i.e; such as was obtained by pounding the olives, when not quite ripe, in a mortar. This was both of whiter colour and purer flavour, and also gave a clearer light, than that furnished by the ripe olives in the press. See the authorities quoted in Bähr's Symbolik, 1. p. 419]: thus gave Solomon to Hiram year by year [probably so long as the building lasted or timber was furnished. But the agreement may have been for a still longer period.]
1 Kings 5:12
And the Lord gave [Can there be any reference to the repeated "gave" of the two preceding verses?] to Solomon wisdom, as he promised him (1 Kings 3:12) and there was peace [one fruit of the gift. Cf. James 3:17] between Hiram and Solomon, and they two made a league together [Heb. "cut a covenant." Cf. ὅρκια τέμνειν. Covenants were ratified by the slaughter of victims, between the parts of which the contracting parties passed (Genesis 15:18; Jeremiah 34:8, Jeremiah 34:18, Jeremiah 34:19). Similarly σπονδή, "libation," in the plural, means "league, truce," and σπονδὰς τέμνειν is found in classic Greek.]
1 Kings 5:13
And King Solomon raised a levy [Marg; tribute of men, i.e; conscription] out of all Israel [i.e; the people, not the land—Ewald] and the levy was thirty thousand men. [That is, if we may trust the figures of the census given in 2 Samuel 24:9 (which do not agree, however, with those of 1 Chronicles 21:5), the conscription only affected one in forty of the male population. But even the lower estimate of Samuel is regarded with some suspicion. Such a levy was predicted (1 Samuel 8:16).
1 Kings 5:14
And he sent them to Lebanon ten thousand a month, by courses [Heb. changes]: a month they were in Lebanon, and two months at home [they had to serve, that is to say, four months out of the twelve—no very great hardship], and Adoniram [see on 1 Kings 4:6; 1 Kings 12:18] was over the levy.
1 Kings 5:15
And Solomon had threescore and ten thousand that bare burdens, and fourscore thousand hewers in the mountains. [These 150,000, destined for the more laborious and menial works, were not Israelites, but Canaanites. We learn from 2 Chronicles 2:17, 2 Chronicles 2:18 that "all the strangers that were in the land of Israel" were subjected to forced labour by Solomon—there were, that is to say, but 150,000 of them remaining. They occupied a very different position from that of the 30,000 Hebrews. None of the latter were reduced to bondage (1 Kings 9:22), while the former had long been employed in servile work. The Gibeonites were reduced to serfdom by Joshua (Joshua 9:27), and the rest of the Canaanites as they were conquered (Joshua 6:10; Joshua 17:13; Judges 1:29, Judges 1:30). In 1 Chronicles 22:2, we find some of them employed on public works by David. By the "hewers" many commentators have supposed that stonecutters alone are intended (so Jos; Ant; 1 Chronicles 8:2. 1 Chronicles 8:9) partly because stone is mentioned presently, and partly because חָצַב is mostly used of the quarrying or cutting of stone, as in Deuteronomy 6:11; Deuteronomy 8:9; 2 Kings 12:12, etc. Gesenius understands the word both of stone and wood cutters. But is it not probable that the latter alone are indicated? That the word is sometimes used of woodcutting Isaiah 10:15 shows. And the words, "in the mountain" (בָּהָר) almost compel us so to understand it here. "The mountain" must be Lebanon. But surely the stone was not transported, to any great extent, like the wood, so great a distance over land and sea, especially when it abounded on the spot. It is true the number of wood cutters would thus appear to be very great, but it is to be remembered how few comparatively were the appliances or machines of those days: almost everything must be done by manual labour. And Pliny tells us that no less than 360,000 men were employed for twenty years on one of the pyramids. It is possible, however, that the huge foundations mentioned below (Isaiah 10:17) were brought from Lebanon.]
1 Kings 5:16
Beside [without counting] the chief of Solomon's officers [Heb. the princes of the overseers, i.e; the princes who acted as overseers, principes qui praefecti erant (Vatabl.)] which were over the work three thousand and three hundred [This large number proves that the "chiefs of the overseers" cannot be meant. Were all the 3,300 superior officers, there must have been quite an army of subalterns. But we read of none. In 1 Kings 9:23, an additional number of 550 "princes of the overseers" (same expression) is mentioned, making a total of 3,850 superintendents, which agrees with the total stated in the Book of Chronicles. It is noteworthy, however, that the details differ from those of the Kings. In 2 Chronicles 2:17 we read of a body of 3,600 "overseers to set the people a work," whilst in 1 Kings 8:10 mention is made of 250 "princes of the overseers." These differences result, no doubt, from difference of classification and arrangement (J.H. Michaelis). In Chronicles the arrangement is one of race, i.e; 3,600 aliens גּרֵים; cf. 2 Chronicles 2:18) and 250 Israelites, whilst in Kings it is one of status, i.e; 3,300 inferior and 550 superior officers. It follows consequently that all the inferior and 300 of the superior overseers were Canaanites] which ruled over the people that wrought in the work.
1 Kings 5:17
And the king commanded and they brought [or cut out, quarried (Gesen.), as in Ecclesiastes 10:9; see also Ecclesiastes 6:7 (Heb.) ] great stones, costly [precious, not heavy, as Thenius. Cf. Psalms 36:8; Psalms 45:9; Esther 1:4 in the Heb.], stones and [omit and. The hewed stones were the great and costly stones] hewed stones [or squared (Isaiah 9:10; cf. 1 Kings 6:36; 1 Kings 7:9; 1 Kings 11:12). We learn from 1 Kings 7:10 that the stones of the foundation of the palace were squared to 8 cubits and 10 cubits] to lay the foundation of the house. [Some of these great squared stones, we can hardly doubt, are found in situ at the present day. The stones at the south-east angle of the walls of the Haram (Mosque of Omar) are "unquestionably of Jewish masonry". "One Isaiah 23:0 1 Kings 2:9 in. long; whilst others vary from 17 to 20 feet in length. Five courses of them are nearly entire" (ib.) As Herod, in rebuilding the edifice, would seem to have had nothing to do with the foundations, we may safely connect these huge blocks with the time of Solomon. It is also probable that some at least of the square pillars, ranged in fifteen rows, and measuring five feet each side, which form the foundations of the Mosque El Aksa, and the supports of the area of the Haram, are of the same date and origin (cf. Ewald, Hist. Israel, 3:233). Porter holds that they are "coeval with the oldest part of the external walls." Many of them, the writer observed, were monoliths. The extensive vaults which they enclose are unquestionably "the subterranean vaults of the temple area" mentioned by Josephus (B.J. 1 Kings 5:3. 1 Kings 5:1), and the "cavati sub terra montes" of Tacitus. It may be added here that the recent explorations in Jerusalem have brought to light many evidences of Phoenician handiwork.]
1 Kings 5:18
And Solomon's builders and Hiram's builders did hew them, and the stone squarers: [the marg. Giblites, i.e; people of Gebal, is to be preferred. For Gebal (= mountain) see Joshua 13:5 ("the land of the Giblites and Lebanon"); Psalms 83:7 ("Gebal and they of Tyro"); and Ezekiel 27:9, where the LXX. translate the word Biblus, which was the Greek name of the city and district north of the famous river Adonis, on the extreme border of Phoenicia. It is now known as Jebeil. It has been already remarked that Tyre and Sidon, as well as Gebal, have Hebrew meanings. These are among the proofs of the practical identity of the Hebrew and Phoenician tongues. The Aramaean immigrants (Deuteronomy 26:5; Genesis 12:5) no doubt adopted the language of Canaan (Dict. Bib; art. "Phoenicians"). Keil renders, "even the Giblites." He would understand, i.e; that the Zidonian workmen were Giblites; but this is doubtful. The Giblites are selected, no doubt, for special mention because of the prominent part they took in the work. Gebal, as its ancient and extensive ruins prove, was a place of much importance, and lying as it did on the coast, and near the cedar forests, would naturally have an important share in the cutting and shipping of the timber. Indeed, it is not improbable that it was at this port that the land transport ended, and the rafts were made. A road ran anciently from Gebal to Baalbak, so that the transport was not impracticable. But as the forests were probably of great extent, there may have been two or three depots at which the timber was floated] so they prepared timber [Heb. the timber] and stones [Heb. the stones] to build the house. [The LXX. (Vat. and Alex. alike) add here, "three years." It is barely possible that these words may have dropped out of the text, but they look more like a gloss, the inference from the chronological statement of 1 Kings 6:1.]
1 Kings 5:7-11.5.12
compared with 1Ki 16:1-34 :81 and 1 Kings 18:4. Tyre and Israel—a lesson on personal influence. Twice in the history of Israel were its relations with the neighbouring kingdom of Tyre close and intimate. Twice did the Phoenician race exercise an important influence on the Hebrew people. In the days of Solomon the subjects of Hiram furnished men and materials to build a house to the name of the Lord. The Phoenicians were not only idolaters, but they belonged to the accursed races of Canaan, yet we see them here assisting the holy people, and furthering the interests of the true religion. But in the days of Ahab these relations were reversed. Then the kingdom of Ethbaal furnished Israel with a princess who destroyed the prophets of the Lord and sought to exterminate the religion of which the temple was the shrine and centre. In the first case, that is to say, we see Israel influencing Tyre for good; we hear from the lips of the Tyrian king an acknowledgment of the goodness of the Hebrew God; we see the two races combining to bring glory to God and to diffuse the blessings of peace and civilization amongst men. In the second case, we see Tyre influencing Israel for evil. No longer do the skilled artificers of Zidon prepare timber and stones for the Lord's house, but the prophets and votaries of Phoenician deities would fain break down the carved work thereof with axes and hammers. So tar from rearing a sanctuary to Jehovah, they would root up His worship and enthrone a foul idol in the place of the Divine Presence. Such have been at different times the relations of Tyre and Sidon to the chosen race and the true religion.
Now why was this fatal difference? Why was the influence in one age so wholesome, in another so baleful? It may be instructive to mark the causes of this change. But observe, first—
I. IT WAS NOT THAT THE PHOENICIAN CREED WAS CHANGED. In its essential features that was the same B.C. 1000 (temp. Solomon) and B.C. 900 (temp. Ahab). It was always idolatrous, always immoral, always an infamous cultus of the reproductive powers. The gods of Hiram were the gods of Ethbaal, and the rites of the latter age were also the rites of the former.
II. IT WAS NOT THAT THE LAW OF THE LORD WAS CHANGED. The idolatry which it forbade at the first period, it forbade at the second. It never tolerated a rival religion; it always condemned the Phoenician superstition. That is, semper eadem.
III. IT WAS NOT THAT HIRAM WAS A PROSELYTE. This was the belief of the divines of a past age, but there is no evidence in its favour.
We see then that it was no change in either of the religious systems. No; it was a change of persons made this difference. It was brought about by the personal influence of three or four kings—of Solomon, Jeroboam, Omri, Ahab. But before we trace the influence they respectively exercised, observe—
I. THE WHOLESOME RELATIONS BETWEEN HIRAM AND SOLOMON, BETWEEN TYRE AND ISRAEL, i.e; WERE DUE TO THE PIETY OF DAVID. "Hiram was ever a lover of David." The timber he supplied for the temple was not the first he had sent (2 Samuel 5:11). The league between the two kings (1 Kings 5:12), and their joint undertakings (1 Kings 5:18; 1 Kings 9:27), were the fruits of David's righteous dealings.
II. THE RELATIONS CONTINUED WHOLESOME AND BENEFICIAL SO LONG AS THE LAW OF THE LORD WAS KEPT. During David's reign, and the earlier part of Solomon's, the commerce of the two nations was to their mutual advantage. Then the Jew came into contact with idolatry unhurt. The soil was not ready for the baleful seed. At a later period (see Homily on 1 Kings 10:22) it was otherwise.
III. THE LAW WAS NO SOONER VIOLATED THAN THE INFLUENCE OF TYRE BECAME HURTFUL. The Zidonian women in Solomon's harem were a distinct violation of the law (1 Kings 11:1), and that trespass bore its bitter fruit forthwith (1 Kings 11:7, 1 Kings 11:8). The principal factors, consequently, in the change were these—
I. THE INFLUENCE OF SOLOMON. If he built altars for his Tyrian consorts, what wonder if the people learnt first to tolerate, then to admire, and at last to practise idolatry. Who can tell how much the frightful abominations of Ahab's days are due to the example of wise Solomon, to the influence of the builder of the temple?
II. THE INFLUENCE OF JEROBOAM. The cultus of the calves, though it was not idolatry, paved the way for it. That violation of the law opened the door for departures greater still. It was no great step from the calves to the groves, from schism to utter apostasy.
III. THE INFLUENCE OF OMRI. Nations, like individuals, do not become infamous all at once (Nemo repente turpissimus fuit). They have their periods and pro. cesses of depravation. Omri carried Jeroboam's evil work a step further; possibly he organized and formulated his system (Micah 6:16). He exceeded all his predecessors in wickedness, and so prepared the way for his son's consummation of impiety.
IV. THE INFLUENCE OF AHAB. A second violation of the Jewish marriage law opened wide the gates to the pestilent flood of idolatries. The son of Omri weds the daughter of a priest of Astarte; and Phoenicia, once the handmaid of Israel, Becomes its snare. Now the ancestral religion is proscribed, and the elect people lends itself to unspeakable abominations (1 Kings 16:32; cf. 2 Kings 10:26, 2 Kings 10:27; Revelation 2:20). It may be said, however, that all this was the work of Jezebel, and due to her influence alone (1 Kings 21:25; cf. 1 Kings 18:13; 1 Kings 19:2, etc.) That may be so, hut it was only the example of Solomon, the schism of Jeroboam, and the apostasy of Omri made this marriage possible, or enabled Jezebel, when queen, to do these things with impunity. Hence learn—
I. THE POWER AND RESPONSIBILITY OF PERSONAL INFLUENCE. An idle word may destroy a kingdom. The Crimean war sprung out of the squabbles of a few monks over a cupboard and a bunch of keys. "There is not a child… whoso existence does not stir a ripple gyrating onward and on, until it shall have moved across and spanned the whole ocean of God's eternity, stirring even the river of life and the fountains at which His angels drink" And our responsibility is increased by the fact that—
II. THE EVIL THAT MEN DO LIVES AFTER THEM. They go on sinning in their graves. Though dead, their example speaks. Witness Solomon and Jeroboam.
III. THE EVIL THAT KINGS DO AFFECTS WHOLE COUNTRIES. Their own kingdoms, of course, and neighbouring kingdoms too. It has been said that "the influence of one good man extends over an area of sixteen square miles." But who shall assign any limits to the influence of a wicked prince? It may plunge a continent into wars, and wars that shall last for generations, or it may steep it for ages in sensuality and superstition. Its issues, too, are in eternity. It is because of the influence of kings that we are so plainly commanded to pray for them (1 Timothy 2:2; cf. Ezra 6:10; Jeremiah 29:7).
IV. IN KEEPING OF GOD'S COMMANDMENTS IS GREAT REWARD. The perfect piety of David procured the friendship and help of Tyre. The disobedience of Solomon, Jeroboam, and Ahab led to the decay and dispersion of the nation and the destruction of their families.
V. TEMPTATION DISCIPLINES THE FAITHFUL SOUL, BUT DESTROYS THE SINNER. David took no harm from his commerce with Hiram, nor did Solomon in the days of his piety. A good man will choose the good and refuse the evil in a corrupt system. But the wicked will choose the evil and refuse the good. Ahab's relations with Tyre were altogether to his hurt. In David's loyal heart the evil seed found no lodgment; in Ahab's it found a congenial soft, and took root downwards and bare fruit upwards.
1 Kings 5:17
No city in the world has experienced so many vicissitudes as "the city of the Great King." The place of the "vision of peace" (or, "foundation of peace") has known no peace. It has been sixteen times taken by siege since our blessed Lord's day, and conqueror after conqueror has cried, "Rase it, rase it, even to the foundation thereof" (Psalms 137:7). It has been the carcase round which the Roman "eagles" have repeatedly gathered; it has been the battlefield of Saracen and Crusader; now the Christian has wrested it from the Moslem, and now the Moslem has torn it back from the Christian. The consequence is that it is a mound of ruins, a heap of debris. When the Anglican church was built, it was necessary to dig down some forty feet, through the accumulated rubbish of ages, to get a foundation. The Jerusalem of the past can only be reached by deep shafts. It is literally true that not one stone of the ancient city is "left upon another" (Matthew 24:2). With ONE exception. Amid the wreck and havoc of wax, amid the changes and chances of the world, the colossal foundations of Solomon remain undisturbed. His "great stones" are to be seen at the present day at the southeast angle and underneath the temple area (see on 1 Kings 5:17). Everything built upon them has perished. Not a trace of tower or temple remains; nay, their very sites are doubtful. But "through all these great and various demolitions and restorations on the surface, its foundations, with their gigantic walls, have been indestructibly preserved" (Ewald). After the lapse of nearly three thousand years, "The foundation standeth sure."
Let us learn a lesson hence as to—
II. The Church of Christ.
III. The doctrine of Christ and His Church.
We may see, then, in the Solomonic foundations of the Temple—
I. A PICTURE OF CHRIST. He compared Himself to the Temple (John 2:19), and to the foundations of the Temple (Matthew 21:42). Yes, to these very corner stones which are still visible. It is remarkable that Psalms 118:22—"The stone which the builders refused is become the head of the corner"—is cited by our Lord of Himself (Matthew 21:42), and is applied to Him by St. Peter (Acts 4:11), while Isaiah 28:16, "Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone," etc.—words which were no doubt suggested by the great and precious stones of Solomon's building—are interpreted of Him both by St. Peter (1 Peter 2:6) and St. Paul (Rom 9:1-33 :38). We have consequently "most certain warrants of Holy Scripture" for seeing in these venerable relics an image of the Eternal Son. He is the one foundation (1 Corinthians 3:11); the chief corner stone (ἀκρογιονιαίος, Ephesians 2:20); He "abideth ever;" "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and for ever" (Hebrews 13:8, Gr.) That "sure foundation" can never fail. How many systems of philosophy, how many "oppositions of science" have "had their day and ceased to be"? How many proud empires have tottered to their fall; how many dynasties are extinct and forgotten? But the carpenter's Son still rules in the hearts of men, and the cross of Christ "towers above the wreck of time."
II. A PICTURE OF THE CHURCH OF CHRIST. As surely as the great cornerstone images our Lord, so surely do the huge and strong foundations pourtray the Church of which He is the Founder. It is to the Church (ἐκκλησία ὑπο θεοῦ τεθεμελιωμένη) those words refer, "The firm foundation of God standeth" (2 Timothy 2:19, Gk.) The Church is "the pillar and ground of the truth;" it is" built upon the foundation of apostles and prophets" (Ephesians 2:20; cf. Revelation 21:14). And, like the foundations of the Temple, its base shall be stable and permanent. "The gates of hell shall not prevail against it" (Matthew 16:18). It is founded on a rock (ibid.)
"Crowns and thrones may perish,
Kingdoms rise and wane,
But the Church of Jesus
Constant will remain."
It was the boast of Voltaire that what it took twelve men to build one man should suffice to break down. But the Church is stronger in the hearts of men now than it was in the eighteenth century. And Voltaire's cry of impotent rage, Ecrasez l'infame, seems farther than ever from its realization. Its enemies assert that Christianity has "destroyed two civilizations"—a striking admission of its strength and vitality. True, the Church has a legion of foes. But let us take courage. There is at Jerusalem a pledge and picture of her stability. Her fashions, her excrescences, her sects and schisms, like the buildings of the Holy City, shall pass away. But her foundation is sure.
III. A PICTURE OF THE DOCTRINE OF CHRIST AND THE CHURCH. As there are twelve foundations of the Church, so are there six foundation truths, six "principles of the doctrine of Christ" (Hebrews 6:2). And of these it may justly be said, "Other foundation can no man lay than that is laid." Some of these doctrines may have been, or may hereafter be, more or less obscured—the "doctrines of baptism and of the laying on of hands" are often ignored or repudiated even now—but for long centuries the foundations of the Temple area have been hidden. Obscured or not, they shall never be shaken or removed. This "firm foundation standeth." The monoliths beneath the Mosque El Aksa, standing where Solomon and Hiram's builders placed them, are silent but eloquent pictures of the eternal and unchangeable truth of God. And if men build on the foundations of Christian doctrine, or on the one foundation of "the personal historical Christ" (Alford on 1 Corinthians 3:11), "wood, hay, stubble," i.e; systems, more or less worthless, of their own, like the Temple of Jerusalem, these shall be destroyed by fire in the "day of visitation;" but the foundation shall remain unscathed, strong and sure and eternal as the God who laid it.
HOMILIES BY J. WAITE
1 Kings 5:2-11.5.6
Read also 2 Chronicles 2:1-14.2.10, where additional light is thrown on this transaction. It marks a period of extreme interest and importance in Hebrew history. It introduces us, by anticipation, to that which was the crowning glory of the reign of Solomon, for his name must ever stand connected with the magnificence of the first Temple, though it be but as a gorgeous dream of the far distant past, which imagination strives in vain to reproduce with distinctness and certainty. Whether the Hiram who entered into this treaty with Solomon is the same as the Hiram who was the friend of David is a matter of doubt. Menander of Ephesus (quoted by Josephus) describes him as a man of great enterprize, a lover of architecture, noted for his skill in building and adorning the temples of the gods. And in this we have a valuable indirect confirmation of the Biblical history. Look at this purpose of Solomon to build a splendid temple to the Lord in two or three different lights.
I. IT EXPRESSES HIS DESIRE TO CARRY OUT THE GOOD DESIGNS OF HIS FATHER DAVID. Filial feeling prompted it. It drew the inspiration of its enthusiasm from the warmth of a filial heart. "Thou knowest how that David my father could not," etc. We are told why he "could not" (1Ch 22:7, 1 Chronicles 22:8; 1 Chronicles 28:5). He had been "a man of war," and had "shed much blood." Noble purposes may be conceived in a time of discord and confusion; they can be actualized only in a time of rest. The hands must be free from the blood of men that would build a worthy dwelling-place for a righteous God. Nothing was more natural than that Solomon, under happier auspices, should resolve to do what his father had the "heart to do," but "could not." To how large an extent is human life a record of thwarted purposes! A tale cut short before it is half told; a laying of plans that are never worked out; a reaching forth towards fair ideals that men have not the power or the time to turn into realities. What can the high mission of each succeeding generation be but just to take up the good purposes that a previous generation failed to accomplish and develop them to their ripe issues? This is the real law of human progress. All honour to the son who, knowing what was truest and deepest in his father's heart, endeavours worthily to fulfil it.
II. IT IS THE SPONTANEOUS OUTCOME OF HIS OWN DEVOUT FEELING. Solomon never had the pure and lofty spirit of devotion that inspired the soul of David; but as yet, at least, his religious sentiment is deep and true. A "house great and wonderful," dedicated to the Lord, in the royal city, will give it fitting public expression. All religious feeling instinctively seeks to body itself forth in appropriate forms. Forbidden as the Jews were to "make any likeness or image" of the great Object of worship (Exodus 20:4), it was quite in harmony with the Divine dispensation of the time that the spirit of worship should robe itself in a grand symbolic garb. Solomon only sought to develop the service of the tabernacle into a system more imposing and enduring (2 Chronicles 2:4, 2 Chronicles 2:5). In every age symbolism has its place as the spontaneous and natural expression of religious thought and feeling. Let it be relied on as the means of awakening such thought and feeling, as the prescribed form in which it shall move—an artificial substitute for it—and it becomes a mockery and a snare. The magnificence of Solomon's design for the Temple indicated not only the fervour of his devotion, but the breadth of his view as regards the essential sacredness of all natural things. "The earth is the Lord's and the fulness thereof." All things beautiful and precious are turned to their true use when dedicated to Him. We cannot be too careful to give Him our richest and best. The true heart says," I will not offer burnt offering to the Lord of that which doth cost me nothing." Let us not be more concerned for our own houses than we are for the Lord's. The history of the Temple, however, and of all ecclesiology, shows how easily the wealth of outward adornment in worship may become the grave of the spiritual and the veil of the Divine. In proportion as care for the symbolic form—the mere shrine of worship—has increased, the living reality—the worship of the Father "in spirit and in truth"—has passed away.
III. IT EXPRESSES HIS SENSE OF THE FACT THAT THE ACKNOWLEDGMENT OF GOD IS THE HEAL STRENGTH AND GLORY OF A NATION. The Temple was to be dedicated "to the name of Jehovah"—the visible sign and symbol of the sovereignty of that name over the whole life of the people. There was worth in the sign just so far as that sovereignty was real. The Jewish commonwealth was a theocracy—the Temple the palace and throne of the great invisible King. Judaism was not the union of Church and State as two separate or separable powers, but their identification. No distinction between the political and ecclesiastical, the secular and spiritual spheres. The two were one. The ideal Christian nation is a theocracy in which Christ is king. Not made so by its institutions, but by the spiritual life that pervades it. True to its name only so far as the law of Christ is honoured in the homes of the people, moulds the form and habit of their social life, controls commerce, rules in Parliament, strengthens, ennobles, glorifies the Throne. Its Christian Churches are thus the very flower of a country's highest life.
"Those temples of His grace,
How beautiful they stand!
The honour of our native place
And bulwark of our land."
As the graveyard—where "the rude forefathers of the hamlet sleep"—tells of the vanity of all earthly things, how the pride and glory of man must one day moulder down to dust, so the church is the memorial of the unfading inheritance of truth and purity and love—the blessed fellowship of the redeemed—the "House of God, not made with hands, eternal in the heavens."
IV. IT EXPRESSES HIS DESIRE THAT ISRAEL SHOULD HAVE A CENTRE OF RELIGIOUS ATTRACTION AND BOND OF RELIGIOUS UNITY. The tabernacle had been the movable sanctuary, of a wandering people, the Temple should be the resting place of the Divine presence (Psalms 132:14). Hitherto there had been a divided worship, connected both with the tabernacle at Gideon and the ark in the city of David (1 Chronicles 16:37-13.16.39). But in future all sacred associations are to be gathered up in the central glory of the Temple. One nation, one faith, one God, one sanctuary. But this localization of the highest forms of worship had its dangers. Men came to think of" the Holy Presence as belonging to the building, instead of the building as being hallowed and glorified by the Presence." Christ proclaims the infinite Presence, the impartial Love. "The hour cometh when ye shall neither in this mountain," etc. (John 4:21). "One greater than the Temple is here"—in whom all its sacred symbols are fulfilled—the attractive centre and bond of union for redeemed souls of every age and nation. Our thoughts are led on to the glorious vision of the holy city of which it is written, "I saw no temple therein, for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it" (Revelation 21:22).—W.
HOMILIES BY E. DE PRESSENSE
1 Kings 5:5
The building of the Temple.
"Behold I purpose to build an house unto the name of the Lord my God." Every man has some special work given him by God. It is of the utmost importance that he should find out what that work is, if he would not make his life a failure and come short of the purpose of God for him. In the ease of Solomon the great work given him to do was not to extend the boundaries of his kingdom, but to build the temple of the Lord. This he clearly understood, as is evident from his saying, "I purpose to build an house to the name of the Lord." This was to him the work of paramount importance. The building of the Temple was to give a religious centre to the theocracy. This was part of the Divine plan, a branch of the education of the people, by which God would prepare the way for the new covenant. The old covenant was essentially preparatory; it was "the shadow of good things to come" (Hebrews 10:1). The Temple was to form a part of this preparation.
I. IT WAS A VISIBLE SYMBOL OF THE PRESENCE OF GOD WITH HIS PEOPLE. This was the only way in which such an idea could be brought home to men in the state of rude infancy in which they then were, and with their incapacity to apprehend directly spiritual graces. The material was thus the necessary medium of the spiritual.
II. The erection of a holy place for worship REMINDED MEN THAT THE EARTH WHICH THEY INHABITED WAS DEFILED; it developed in them the sense of sin.
III. THE POSSIBILITY OF DRAWING NEAR TO GOD IN THIS HOLY PLACE pointed to the time of reconciliation, when every spot of a redeemed earth might be a place of prayer; when there should be no longer one sanctuary for one nation alone, but when all the nations should have free access to God as worshippers in spirit and in truth. The fact that Solomon sought out workmen for the Temple, not only among the Israelites, but among the Gentiles, is prophetic, and prefigures the time when the multitude of worshippers shall be "of every kindred, and nation, and people, and tongue" (Revelation 5:9).
IV. THERE IS NOT A SINGLE CHRISTIAN LIVING WHO HAS NOT A TASK LIKE THAT OF SOLOMON TO FULFIL. Every Christian ought to say, "I purpose to build an house to the name of the Lord." (a) He must first become himself a living stone of the spiritual temple (2Pe 2:1-22 :51). (b) His body must be the temple of the Holy Ghost (1 Corinthians 6:19), his whole being a sanctuary (1 Corinthians 3:1-46.3.23.) His house should be a house of prayer (Joshua 24:15). Are not these human temples themselves the stones elect, precious, to be used by and by in that great heavenly temple which the Lord shall build and not man? (2 Corinthians 5:1.)—E. DE P.
HOMILIES BY A. ROWLAND
1 Kings 5:7-11.5.12
Lessons from the conduct of a heathen prince.
Describe the condition of Type at this period, alluding to its commerce, its religious beliefs, its proximity to the kingdom of Solomon, its monarchical institutions, as opposed to the usual republican government of Phoenician settlements—as exemplified in Carthage, the splendid daughter of Type, founded about 140 years after the building of Solomon's temple. Point out some of the effects of the intercourse between these two states, as suggested by Old Testament history. Suggest from this the responsibilities and the perils accruing to us as a Christian people, from the fact that our own destinies are so interwoven with distant and heathen nations. Allude to the fearlessness of Scripture in ascribing what is good and commendable to those whom the Jews generally scorned. Various examples may be given, e.g; Abimelech king of Egypt, Cyrus, Hiram; and in the New Testament, Cornelius, Publius, etc. Compare the words of our Lord (Matthew 8:11, Matthew 8:12).
The conduct of Hiram teaches us the following lessons.
I. THAT WE SHOULD REJOICE IN THE PROSPERITY OF OTHERS (1 Kings 5:7). Hiram was moved to joy, partly because of his love and admiration for David. It is an unspeakable advantage to have the position won by a father's toil, the affection and confidence deserved by a father's worth. In our material possessions, in our worldly occupation, in our ecclesiastical and, above all, our Christian relationships, how much of good has come from parentage! Contrast the possibilities of a lad, born of honoured parents, and therefore trusted till he proves untrustworthy, whose path in life is smoothed by the loving hands of those who care for him, for his father's sake, with the terrible disadvantages of the child of a convict, who is distrusted and ill treated from his birth. Hiram was well disposed to Solomon for his father's sake. There were many reasons for jealousy. The two kingdoms adjoined each other, and national pride would be fostered by religious differences. It is easier to rejoice over the success of a distant trader than over the prosperity of a neighbour who is our competitor. Nor is it common for a heathen to be glad over the welfare of a Christian. Hiram was large hearted enough to overlook barriers which were erected by the hands of rivalry and religious distinction.
II. THAT WE SHOULD FAIRLY CONSIDER THE DEMANDS OF OTHERS. "I have considered the things which thou sentest to me for" (1 Kings 5:8). The request of Solomon was bold. It would require sacrifice on the part of the Tyrians. They were asked to help in building a temple for another nation, and for the worship of One who was to them a strange deity. No prejudice, however, interfered with Hiram's fair consideration of Solomon's request; and as it was more fully understood, it seemed more and more feasible. How often prejudice prevents men from looking at a novel scheme for work, from welcoming a new expression of old truth, etc. A false patriotism sometimes refuses to see any excellency in another people. Sectarianism checks Christians in learning from each other. There is much presented to us which we cannot at once welcome, but at least it should be fairly considered. "Prove all things, hold fast that which is good."
III. THAT WHEN WE DO A KINDNESS, IT SHOULD BE DONE WITHOUT GRUDGING. "I will do all thy desire." It is not right to ask another for what is unreasonable, or to give to another what is unreasonable for him to expect. Sometimes to grant a request is easier than to refuse it, and we do what is asked to save ourselves trouble. Every demand should be weighed in the balance of equity. But if, after the test, it seems right to accede to it, we should not do it reluctantly, or partially, or murmuringly, lest we should mar the beauty of the act to others, and rob ourselves of the bliss of ministering to others in Christ's spirit. "Whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men," etc. (Colossians 3:23, Colossians 3:24). "Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure," etc. (Luke 6:38).
IV. THAT WE SHOULD RECOGNIZE AND RECOMPENSE THE ABILITIES OF THE HUMBLEST. In 2 Chronicles 2:13 we read that Hiram chose from amongst his subjects a skilful man, to be set over this business. Christians can serve their Lord in this way amidst their ordinary occupations. In the counting house, or office, or factory the recognition and encouragement of diligence and skill may be a means of grace to employer and employe. We should devoutly recognize that knowledge, skill, capacity of any sort, are the gifts of God; and while we employ our own faithfully, we should, as opportunity serves, aid our fellow servants in the use of theirs.
V. THAT WE SHOULD ACKNOWLEDGE OUR MUTUAL DEPENDENCE. Solomon and Hiram were not independent of each other. It was for the good of these kings and of their peoples that they should be associated in this holy work. Solomon confessed, "There is not among us any that can skill to hew timber like unto the Sidonians" (2 Chronicles 2:6). Each nation, each individual has his own sphere to fill in the economy of God. No one of these can serve well in isolation. See St. Paul's teaching about the body and its members. Show how nations are mutually dependent, commercially and in their political relations. Point out the special responsibility of God's people when they are associated with heathen nations. Suggest the possibility that each section of Christ's Church may be doing its own appointed service, though all must feel that they are mutually dependent if the prayer of our Lord is to be fulfilled (John 17:21). Apply the principle to the association of Christians in Church fellowship, in evangelistic enterprize, in religious worship, etc; and show the benefits arising to the individual from the fact that he is one of many.
VI. THAT EACH SHOULD LOYALLY ACCEPT, AND HEARTILY DO, HIS OWN SHARE IN BUILDING THE TEMPLE OF THE LORD. (2 Chronicles 2:16.) Christians are likened to labourers in a vineyard, to servants in a household, to builders of a temple by our Lord and His apostles. In none of these spheres of activity is the work of all the servants alike in its publicity, in its honour, in its immediate effects, in its pleasant. ness, etc. Yet to every "good and faithful servant" the recompense will come; and he who shaped the stone in the quarry, or bore the burdens for more distinguished builders, will, in the great day, not lose his reward.—A.R.
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Exell, Joseph S; Spence-Jones, Henry Donald Maurice. "Commentary on 1 Kings 5". The Pulpit Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/
the Second Week after Epiphany