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Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

1 Kings 5:4

But now the Lord my God has given me rest on every side; there is neither adversary nor misfortune.
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Nave's Topical Bible - Diplomacy;   Liberality;   Religion;   Treaty;   Tyre;   Thompson Chain Reference - Nation;   Peace Invoked;   Solomon;   War-Peace;  
American Tract Society Bible Dictionary - Hiram or Huram;   Tyre or Tyrus;   Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - Lebanon;   Solomon;   Baker Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology - Evil;   Ezekiel, Theology of;   Easton Bible Dictionary - Adversary;   Lebanon;   Fausset Bible Dictionary - Alliances;   Lebanon;   Solomon;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Hiram;   Kings, 1 and 2;   Satan;   Temple of Jerusalem;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Alliance;   Israel;   Satan;   Solomon;   Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament - Devil ;   Satan (2);   Morrish Bible Dictionary - Hiram ;   People's Dictionary of the Bible - Hiram;   Solomon;   Smith Bible Dictionary - Alliances;   Leb'anon,;  
Condensed Biblical Cyclopedia - Hebrew Monarchy, the;   International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Chance;   Occurrent;   The Jewish Encyclopedia - Eber;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

Verse 1 Kings 5:4. There is neither adversaryאין שטן eyn satan, there is no satan-no opposer, nor any kind of evil; all is peace and quiet, both without and within. God has given me this quiet that I may build his temple. Deus nobis haec otia fecit.

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These files are public domain.
Bibliographical Information
Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on 1 Kings 5:4". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". 1832.

Bridgeway Bible Commentary


When David had expressed a desire to build a permanent house for God, he was told that God was more concerned with building a permanent ‘house’ for David, namely, a dynasty. As for a symbolic dwelling place for God, God had already shown his ideal for Israel in the tabernacle. Nevertheless, he would allow Israel to have a temple, though it would be built not by David, but by David’s son Solomon (see notes on 2 Samuel 7:1-17).

Despite God’s emphasis on the need to build a godly family, both David and Solomon seem to have been more concerned with building a lavish temple. David may not have been allowed to build the temple himself, but he helped Solomon all he could by preparing the plan and setting aside money and materials for the building’s construction. He wanted everything to be ready so that Solomon could begin construction as soon as he became king (1 Chronicles 22:2-16; 1 Chronicles 28:11).

But Solomon’s plans were for more than a temple. His building program lasted more than twenty years, and included an expensive palace and other impressive buildings to adorn his national capital. (For details of David’s preparations for the temple and its services, and his extensive instructions to Solomon, see notes on 1 Chronicles 22:2-29:30.)

Workers and materials (5:1-18)

No doubt Solomon intended the building of the temple to be a help to Israel’s spiritual life, but the way he carried out the work could easily have had the opposite effect. He obtained the best of materials from Hiram, king of Tyre, but the contract with Hiram almost certainly involved religious ritual and recognition of Hiram’s gods (5:1-9).
Solomon agreed to pay for all this material by sending farm produce to Hiram. But Israel’s farmers may not have been happy to see their hard earned produce going to a heathen king, especially since it was only to pay for a lavish building program in the capital city (10-12). Nor would people in northern Israel be pleased to see their land handed over to Hiram to pay off Solomon’s debts (see 9:11-14).

These disadvantages may not have existed had Solomon been more moderate in his plans and materials. The temple did not need to be any larger than the old tabernacle, and David seems to have left Solomon plenty of materials for its construction (1 Chronicles 22:2-5; 1 Chronicles 29:1-9).

Another of Solomon’s policies that created feelings of dissatisfaction and rebellion was that of forced labour (see 12:4). All working men were required to give three months work to the king each year, to provide a year-round workforce of 30,000 men. One third of these were sent to Tyre to work in relays, a month at a time, cutting the timber under the supervision of Hiram’s men. The timber was then floated down to the Israelite port of Joppa (see v. 6,9; 2 Chronicles 2:8-10,2 Chronicles 2:16). Besides these part-time Israelite workers, there were 150,000 full-time slaves (mainly Canaanites; 9:20-22) who did the harder work of quarrying and carrying the stone (13-18).

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Bibliographical Information
Flemming, Donald C. "Commentary on 1 Kings 5:4". "Brideway Bible Commentary". 2005.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

The contrast is not between different periods of Solomon’s reign, but between his reign and that of his father.

Evil occurrent - Rather, evil occurrence.

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Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on 1 Kings 5:4". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". 1870.

Chuck Smith Bible Commentary

So Hiram the king of Tyre when he heard that Solomon was upon the throne in place of his David: for Hiram was always a great admirer of David. And Solomon sent to Hiram, and he said, You know how that David my father could not build a house unto the name of the LORD his God for the wars which were about him on every side, until the LORD put them under the soles of his feet. But now the LORD my God hath given me rest on every side, so that there is neither adversary nor evil occurrent. Behold, I purpose to build a house unto the name of the LORD my God, as the LORD spake to David my father, saying, Thy son, whom I will set upon the throne in your place, he will build a house unto my name. Now therefore command that they hew me cedar trees out of Lebanon; and my servants shall be with thy servants: and unto thee will I give hire for thy servants according to all that you shall appoint: for thou knowest that there is not among any of us those that have the skill in cutting timber like those of Sidon. So it came to pass, when Hiram heard the words of Solomon, that he rejoiced greatly, and said, Blessed be the LORD this day, which hath given unto David a wise son over this great people ( 1 Kings 5:1-7 ).

So Hiram rejoiced that Solomon had such wisdom as he began to reign in David's stead.

Hiram sent to Solomon, saying, I have considered the things which you have sent for me: and I will do all that you desire concerning the timbers of cedar, and fir. My servants shall bring them down from Lebanon unto the sea: and I will convey them by sea in floats unto the place that you shall appoint me, and I will cause them to be discharged there, and thou shalt receive them: and you shall accomplish my desire, in giving food to my household ( 1 Kings 5:8-9 ).

So they made an arrangement where they would make these great log rafts, cutting the timbers out of the forest of Lebanon. Up in the area of Sidon and Tyre. Now it used to be that Lebanon was covered with great cedar forests. Most of these were destroyed during the time of the reign of the Turks. But there are just today a very few cedar groves left in Lebanon. Tragic. Used to be beautiful wooded area. And now just a few cedars left.

But they cut down these great cedars and firs and made these log rafts. And they floated them down the Mediterranean to the port city of Joppa, which is probably about fifty miles from Tyre. And there from Joppa they would take them over land to Jerusalem, a distance of about thirty-five miles. These huge logs. And so it was quite a task indeed.

Now for these logs, he was to pay Hiram in food to take care of these men who were cutting the timber out of the woods.

So Hiram gave Solomon cedar trees and fir trees according to all of his desire. And Solomon gave to Hiram twenty thousand measures of wheat ( 1 Kings 5:10-11 )

So again, ten bushels, twenty thousand bushels of wheat.

for his household, twenty measures of pure oil ( 1 Kings 5:11 ):

And a measure of oil they figure somewhere between forty-five and eighty gallons. And this was the annual tribute or pay that he gave for the men so that they could eat.

And the LORD gave Solomon wisdom, as he promised him: and there was peace between Hiram and Solomon; for they had made a treaty. And king Solomon raised a tax from all of Israel ( 1 Kings 5:12-13 );

Or a draft actually.

and he drafted thirty thousand men. And he sent them to Lebanon, ten thousand each month ( 1 Kings 5:13-14 ).

So you go a month; you work a month and had two months off. Just like the fireman almost. Just you know, you work a day and off three and those neat kind of hours. So he had thirty thousand men, ten thousand going each month up to Lebanon to work in helping them in the cutting of the wood and so forth.

And Solomon had seventy thousand slaves ( 1 Kings 5:15 ).

That just carried the logs, you know, or worked along with the logs and so forth. They, of course, would put logs and roll them and, you know, they would run and put logs ahead, and they rolled the logs and so forth. And of course, when you have seventy thousand men doing it, you can move quite a few logs. And there were eighty thousand men who were up cutting the logs up in the forest. So really, quite a contingency of labor here.

Beside the chief of Solomon's officers which were over the work, three thousand, three hundred foremen on the job, that guided them in the work. And Solomon commanded that they bring great and costly stones, to lay the foundation of the house of God. And Solomon's builders and Hiram's builders cut them, and the stonesquarers: so that they prepared timber and stones to build the house ( 1 Kings 5:16-18 ).

Now near Herod's gate in Jerusalem today, there is a cave that goes under the wall and actually you can go down under the city of Jerusalem into Solomon's quarries. And you can see where much of the stone was quarried for the walls of the city of Jerusalem during Solomon's time for Solomon's house and for the temple. These quarries are still there, and you can see the chisel marks on the wall where they cut out. What they would do actually, the rocks under that area are limestone and they lay in layers actually. And it's excellent for building, because much of it is just flat and sort of layered. And what they would do is they would drill holes into the rock. And then they would put wooden branches in and then they would soak. They would put water on the wooden branches and make them expand and just pop the rock out. And you can always, an interesting thing to see in Jerusalem, Solomon's quarries. Just to the right of Herod's gate, between Herod's gate and Damascus gate. If ever you get over there, you want to take a look at Solomon's quarries. They're very fascinating, because here is where the stone was quarried. And then, of course, they would cut it.

And it is interesting that today in Jerusalem there's a city ordinance that all of the buildings in Jerusalem must be made out of what they call the Jerusalem stone. So even if they build the concrete buildings, they have to put a fascia over all of the buildings of this Jerusalem stone. Jerusalem stone is a very beautiful stone. It has a capacity in the early morning sun to look almost golden and that is why Jerusalem is called The Golden City. Because as the sun is rising, and as it first hits the stone or just even before it hits just in the early dawn, it takes on a golden hue, all of the stones. And it's absolutely gorgeous. Of course, you're in jet lag so you wake up early anyhow when you're first there. But it's always a thrill to see the sun coming up and see this golden color. And then, of course, as the sun hits it, it begins to level out into a sort of a beige kind of a color in the bright sun.

But Jerusalem stone is something beautiful to behold, and in the cutting of the stone and in the shaping of it, they would shape the stones so fine that they did not have to use mortar in putting it together. But the blocks would just all interlock and fit one upon another. And I saw the corner of the temple mount that was done during Herod's time. With these gigantic stones. Now it says that Solomon had some hewn stones and some of them eight cubits, some of them five cubits, which are good size stones really. For Solomon's day eight cubits would be a stone of about eleven, twelve, thirteen feet. But Herod used stones that were thirty-seven feet long, five feet high and eight feet thick. They estimate that they weigh somewhere between eighty and a hundred tons.

And these stones are carved so accurately, I guess is what you'd say, is that I took a knife blade and tried to insert it between them and you can't. Now can you imagine how much chipping that must have taken. I know. That's the kind of stuff I think about; how long did it take a guy to chip that thing that smooth? You know, because they're working with just chisels and all, hand tools, no power grinders or pneumatic tools. Just chipping away. And the interesting thing is today, you can see these old men around Jerusalem sitting there in the ground or in the squatted position and they're chipping away at stones. It's still an art that is current to the present day because of the city ordinance that all of the building must be faced at least with Jerusalem stone. So stone-cutting, very interesting art indeed, and it is fascinating to watch. And Solomon ordered these stones and, of course, all of the material.


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Copyright © 2014, Calvary Chapel of Costa Mesa, Ca.
Bibliographical Information
Smith, Charles Ward. "Commentary on 1 Kings 5:4". "Chuck Smith Bible Commentary". 2014.

Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable

Solomon’s request of Hiram 5:1-6

Hiram probably reigned from about 980-947 B.C. [Note: Frank M. Cross, "An Interpretation of the Nora Stone," Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research 208 (December 1972):17. Cf. Merrill, p. 239.] Many scholars agree that his reign overlapped David’s by about nine years and Solomon’s by about 24 (cf. 2 Samuel 5:11). Tyre was an important Mediterranean Sea port in Phoenicia north of Israel. Sidon (1 Kings 5:6), another, more important Phoenician port city at this time, stood a few miles north of Tyre.

"A house for the name of the Lord" (1 Kings 5:3) means a house for Yahweh that would communicate His reputation to the world. Cedar (1 Kings 5:6) is still a favored building material because of its durability and beauty.

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Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on 1 Kings 5:4". "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable". 2012.

Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable

1. Preparations for building ch. 5

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Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on 1 Kings 5:4". "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable". 2012.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

But now the Lord my God hath given me rest on every side,.... From foreign enemies; for Solomon had no wars with any:

[so that there is] neither adversary; or Satan, no internal enemy in his kingdom, as well as no external ones, Adonijah, Joab, and other ill-designing persons, being cut off:

nor evil occurrent; nothing that rose up, and met him, to discourage or hinder the prosecution of the good work he had in view.

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The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rights Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
A printed copy of this work can be ordered from: The Baptist Standard Bearer, 1 Iron Oaks Dr, Paris, AR, 72855
Bibliographical Information
Gill, John. "Commentary on 1 Kings 5:4". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". 1999.

Matthew Henry's Complete Commentary on the Bible

Solomon's Agreement with Hiram. B. C. 1014.

      1 And Hiram king of Tyre sent his servants unto Solomon; for he had heard that they had anointed him king in the room of his father: for Hiram was ever a lover of David.   2 And Solomon sent to Hiram, saying,   3 Thou knowest how that David my father could not build an house unto the name of the LORD his God for the wars which were about him on every side, until the LORD put them under the soles of his feet.   4 But now the LORD my God hath given me rest on every side, so that there is neither adversary nor evil occurrent.   5 And, behold, I purpose to build a house unto the name of the LORD my God, as the LORD spake unto David my father, saying, Thy son, whom I will set upon thy throne in thy room, he shall build a house unto my name.   6 Now therefore command thou that they hew me cedar trees out of Lebanon; and my servants shall be with thy servants: and unto thee will I give hire for thy servants according to all that thou shalt appoint: for thou knowest that there is not among us any that can skill to hew timber like unto the Sidonians.   7 And it came to pass, when Hiram heard the words of Solomon, that he rejoiced greatly, and said, Blessed be the LORD this day, which hath given unto David a wise son over this great people.   8 And Hiram sent to Solomon, saying, I have considered the things which thou sentest to me for: and I will do all thy desire concerning timber of cedar, and concerning timber of fir.   9 My servants shall bring them down from Lebanon unto the sea: and I will convey them by sea in floats unto the place that thou shalt appoint me, and will cause them to be discharged there, and thou shalt receive them: and thou shalt accomplish my desire, in giving food for my household.

      We have here an account of the amicable correspondence between Solomon and Hiram. Tyre was a famous trading city, that lay close upon the sea, in the border of Israel; its inhabitants (as should seem) were none of the devoted nations, nor ever at enmity with Israel, and therefore David never offered to destroy them, but lived in friendship with them. It is here said of Hiram their king that he was ever a lover of David; and we have reason to think he was a worshipper of the true God, and had himself renounced, though he could not reform, the idolatry of his city. David's character will win the affections even of those that are without. Here is,

      I. Hiram's embassy of compliment to Solomon, 1 Kings 5:1; 1 Kings 5:1. He sent, as is usual among princes, to condole with him on the death of David, and to renew his alliances with him upon his succession to the government. It is good keeping up friendship and communion with the families in which religion is uppermost.

      II. Solomon's embassy of business to Hiram, sent, it is likely, by messengers of his own. In wealth, honour, and power, Hiram was very much inferior to Solomon, yet Solomon had occasion to be beholden to him and begged his favour. Let us never look with disdain on those below us, because we know not how soon we may need them. Solomon, in his letter to Hiram, acquaints him,

      1. With his design to build a temple to the honour of God. Some think that temples among the heathen took their first rise and copy from the tabernacle which Moses erected in the wilderness, and that there were none before that; however there were many houses built in honour of the false gods before this was built in honour of the God of Israel, so little is external splendour a mark of the true church. Solomon tells Hiram, who was himself no stranger to the affair, (1.) That David's wars were an obstruction to him, that he could not build this temple, though he designed it, 1 Kings 5:3; 1 Kings 5:3. They took up much of his time, and thoughts, and cares, were a constant expense to him and a constant employment of his subjects; so that he could not do it so well as it must be done, and therefore, it not being essential to religion, he must leave it to be done by his successor. See what need we have to pray that God will give peace in our time, because, in time or war, the building of the gospel temple commonly goes on slowly. (2.) That peace gave him an opportunity to build it, and therefore he resolved to set about it immediately: God has given me rest both at home and abroad, and there is no adversary (1 Kings 5:4; 1 Kings 5:4), no Satan (so the word is), no instrument of Satan to oppose it, or to divert us from it. Satan does all he can to hinder temple work (1 Thessalonians 2:18; Zechariah 3:1), but when he is bound (Revelation 20:2) we should be busy. When there is no evil occurrent, then let us be vigorous and zealous in that which is good and get it forward. When the churches have rest let them be edified, Acts 9:31. Days of peace and prosperity present us with a fair gale, which we must account for if we improve not. As God's providence excited Solomon to think of building the temple, by giving him wealth and leisure, so his promise encouraged him. God had told David that his son should build him a house,1 Kings 5:5; 1 Kings 5:5. He will take it as a pleasure to be thus employed, and will not lose the honour designed him by that promise. It may stir us up much to good undertakings to be assured of good success in them. Let God's promise quicken our endeavours.

      2. With his desire that Hiram would assist him herein. Lebanon was the place whence timber must be had, a noble forest in the north of Canaan, particularly expressed in the grant of that land to Israel--all Lebanon,Joshua 13:5. So that Solomon was proprietor of all its productions. The cedars of Lebanon are spoken of as, in a special manner, the planting of the Lord (Psalms 109:16), being designed for Israel's use and particularly for temple service. But Solomon owned that though the trees were his the Israelites had not skill to hew timber like the Sidonians, who were Hiram's subjects. Canaan was a land of wheat and barley (Deuteronomy 8:8), which employed Israel in the affairs of husbandry, so that they were not at all versed in manufactures: in them the Sidonians excelled. Israel, in the things of God, are a wise and understanding people; and yet, in curious arts, inferior to their neighbours. True piety is a much more valuable gift of heaven than the highest degree of ingenuity. Better be an Israelite skilful in the law than a Sidonian skilful to hew timber. But, the case being thus, Solomon courts Hiram to send him workmen, and promises (1 Kings 5:6; 1 Kings 5:6) both to assist them (my servants shall be with thy servants, to work under them), and to pay them (unto thee will I give hire for thy servants); for the labourer, even in church-work, though it be indeed its own wages, is worthy of his hire, The evangelical prophet, foretelling the glory of the church in the days of the Messiah, seems to allude to this story, Isaiah 60:1-22, where he prophesies, (1.) That the sons of strangers (such were the Tyrians and Sidonians) shall build up the wall of the gospel temple, Isaiah 60:10; Isaiah 60:10. Ministers were raised up among the Gentiles for the edifying of the body of Christ. (2.) That the glory of Lebanon shall be brought to it to beautify it,Isaiah 60:13; Isaiah 60:13. All external endowments and advantages shall be made serviceable to the interests of Christ's kingdom.

      3. Hiram's reception of, and return to, this message.

      (1.) He received it with great satisfaction to himself: He rejoiced greatly (1 Kings 5:7; 1 Kings 5:7) that Solomon trod in his father's steps, and carried on his designs, and was likely to be so great a blessing to his kingdom. In this Hiram's generous spirit rejoiced, and not merely in the prospect he had of making an advantage to himself by Solomon's employing him. What he had the pleasure of he gave God the praise of: Blessed be the Lord, who has given to David (who was himself a wise man) a wise son to rule over this great people. See here, [1.] With what pleasure Hiram speaks of Solomon's wisdom and the extent of his dominion. Let us learn not to envy others either those secular advantages or those endowments of the mind wherein they excel us. What a great comfort it is to those that wish well to the Israel of God to see religion and wisdom kept up in families from one generation to another, especially in great families and those that have great influence on others! where it is so, God must have the glory of it. If to godly parents be given a godly seed (Malachi 2:15), it is a token for good, and a happy indication that the entail of the blessing shall not be cut off.

      (2.) He answered it with great satisfaction to Solomon, granting him what he desired, and showing himself very forward to assist him in this great and good work to which he was laying his hand. We have here his articles of agreement with Solomon concerning this affair, in which we may observe Hiram's prudence. [1.] He deliberated upon the proposal, before he returned an answer (1 Kings 5:8; 1 Kings 5:8): I have considered the things. It is common for those that make bargains rashly afterwards to wish them unmade again. The virtuous woman considers a field and then buys it,Proverbs 31:16. Those do not lose time who take time to consider. [2.] He descended to particulars in the articles, that there might be no misunderstanding afterwards, to occasion a quarrel. Solomon had spoken of hewing the trees (1 Kings 5:6; 1 Kings 5:6), and Hiram agrees to what he desired concerning that (1 Kings 5:8; 1 Kings 5:8); but nothing had been said concerning carriage, and this matter therefore must be settled. Land-carriage would be very troublesome and chargeable; he therefore undertakes to bring all the timber down from Lebanon by sea, a coasting voyage. Conveyance by water is a great convenience to trade, for which God is to have praise, who taught man that discretion. Observe what a definite bargain Hiram made. Solomon must appoint the place where the timber shall be delivered, and thither Hiram will undertake to bring it and be responsible for its safety. As the Sidonians excelled the Israelites in timber-work, so they did in sailing; for Tyre and Sidon were situate at the entry of the sea (Ezekiel 27:3): they therefore were fittest to take care of the water-carriage. Tractant fabrilia fabri--Every artist has his trade assigned. And, [3.] If Hiram undertake for the work, and do all Solomon's desire concerning the timber (1 Kings 5:8; 1 Kings 5:8), he justly expects that Solomon shall undertake for the wages: "Thou shalt accomplish my desire in giving food for my household (1 Kings 5:9; 1 Kings 5:9), not only for the workmen, but for my own family." If Tyre supply Israel with craftsmen, Israel will supply Tyre with corn, Ezekiel 27:17. Thus, by the wise disposal of Providence, one country has need of another and is benefited by another, that there may be mutual correspondence and dependence, to the glory of God our common parent.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website.
Bibliographical Information
Henry, Matthew. "Complete Commentary on 1 Kings 5:4". "Matthew Henry Complete Commentary on the Whole Bible". 1706.