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Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

1 Kings 5:6

Now therefore, command that they cut for me cedars from Lebanon, and my servants will be with your servants; and I will give you wages for your servants according to all that you say, for you know that there is no one among us who knows how to cut timber like the Sidonians."
New American Standard Version
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  1. Adam Clarke Commentary
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  3. Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible
  4. E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes
  5. Brian Bell Commentary on the Bible
  6. Chuck Smith Bible Commentary
  7. John Dummelow's Commentary on the Bible
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  9. Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable
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Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Cedar;   Commerce;   Diplomacy;   Sidon;   Treaty;   Tyre;   Thompson Chain Reference - Solomon;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Cedar, the;   Commerce;   Covenants;   Forests;   Lebanon;   Temple, the First;   Tyre;  
Dictionaries:
American Tract Society Bible Dictionary - Hiram or Huram;   Tyre or Tyrus;   Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - Lebanon;   Solomon;   Baker Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology - Ezekiel, Theology of;   Easton Bible Dictionary - Building;   Cedar;   Lebanon;   Phenicia;   Zidon;   Fausset Bible Dictionary - Alliances;   Commerce;   Lebanon;   Phoenice;   Sidon;   Tyre;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Architecture in the Biblical Period;   Cedar;   Hiram;   Kings, 1 and 2;   Plants in the Bible;   Temple of Jerusalem;   Wages;   Woodworker;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Alliance;   Israel;   Lebanon;   Phoenicia, PhNicians;   Solomon;   Morrish Bible Dictionary - Hiram ;   Zidonians, Sidonians ;   People's Dictionary of the Bible - Hiram;   Solomon;   Zidon;   Smith Bible Dictionary - Alliances;   Leb'anon,;   Sido'nians,;   Zi'don,;   Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary - Division of the Earth;  
Encyclopedias:
Condensed Biblical Cyclopedia - Hebrew Monarchy, the;   International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Appoint;   Cedar;   Crafts;   Hire;   Sidonians;   Skill;   Trade;   Kitto Biblical Cyclopedia - Alliances;   Architecture;   The Jewish Encyclopedia - Tyre;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

Any that can skill to hew timber - An obsolete and barbarous expression for any that know how to cut timber. They had neither sawyers, carpenters, joiners, nor builders among them, equal to the Sidonians. Sidon was a part of the territories of Hiram, and its inhabitants appear to have been the most expert workmen. It requires more skill to fell and prepare timber than is generally supposed. Vitruvius gives some rules relative to this, lib. ii., cap. 9, the sum of which is this:

  1. Trees should be felled in autumn, or in the winter, and in the wane of the moon; for in this season the trees recover their vigor and solidity, which was dispersed among their leaves, and exhausted by their fruit, in spring and summer; they will then be free from a certain moisture, very apt to engender worms and rot them, which in autumn and winter is consumed and dried up.
  • Trees should not be cut down at once; they should be cut carefully round towards the pith, that the sap may drop down and distil away, and thus left till thoroughly dry, and then cut down entirely.
  • When fully dried, a tree should not be exposed to the south sun, high winds, and rain; and should be smeared over with cow-dung to prevent its splitting.
  • It should never be drawn through the dew, but be removed in the afternoon.
  • 5. It is not fit for floors, doors, or windows, till it has been felled three years. Perhaps these directions attended to, would prevent the dry rot. And we see from them that there is considerable skill required to hew timber, and in this the Sidonians excelled. We do every thing in a hurry, and our building is good for nothing.

    Copyright Statement
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    Bibliographical Information
    Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on 1 Kings 5:6". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/1-kings-5.html. 1832.

    Bridgeway Bible Commentary

    5:1-9:25 SOLOMON'S BUILDING PROGRAM

    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).

    Copyright Statement
    These files are public domain.
    Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
    Bibliographical Information
    Flemming, Donald C. "Commentary on 1 Kings 5:6". "Brideway Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bbc/1-kings-5.html. 2005.

    Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

    Solomon‘s message to Hiram and Hiram‘s answer 1 Kings 5:8-9 are given much more fully in 2 Chronicles 2:3-16.

    Cedar-trees - The Hebrew word here and elsewhere translated “cedar,” appears to be used, not only of the cedar proper, but of other timber-trees also, as the fir, and, perhaps, the juniper. Still there is no doubt that the real Lebanon cedar is most commonly intended by it. This tree, which still grows on parts of the mountain, but which threatens to die out, was probably much more widely spread anciently. The Tyrians made the masts of their ships from the wood Ezekiel 27:5, and would naturally be as careful to cultivate it as we have ourselves been to grow oak. The Assyrian kings, when they made their expeditions into Palestine, appear frequently to have cut it in Lebanon and Hermon, and to have transported it to their own capitals.

    Skill to hew timber like unto the Sidonians - The mechanical genius and nautical skill of the Phoenicians generally, and of the Sidonians in particular, is noticed by Homer and Herodotus. In the reign of Hiram, Sidon, though perhaps she might have a king of her own, acknowledged the supremacy of Tyre.

    Copyright Statement
    These files are public domain.
    Bibliographical Information
    Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on 1 Kings 5:6". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/1-kings-5.html. 1870.

    E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

    any = a man. Hebrew. "ish. App-14.

    Copyright Statement
    These files are public domain.
    Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
    Bibliographical Information
    Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on 1 Kings 5:6". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/1-kings-5.html. 1909-1922.

    Brian Bell Commentary on the Bible

    1. Intro:
      1. We now move from Solomon’s wisdom to his building projects.
        1. Ch’s 5-8 record the fulfillment of God’s promise that Solomon would build a temple to the glory of God.
        2. Its Preparation (5). Execution (ch’s. 6,7). & Dedication (ch. 8).
      2. Solomon obtains the basic materials for the construction of the temple. We’ll also hear about the trade agreement between Solomon and Hiram, king of Tyre, who supplied wood in exchange for wheat and oil.
    2. HIRAM’S HOME DEPOT (ch.5)
      1. ​​​​​​​Hiram - the Gentile king of Tyre, agreed to supply the wood and the skillful men to do the work. Solomon in turn paid him 130,000 bushels of wheat and 120 gallons of pure olive oil each year.
      2. While God does not dwell in material temples today (Acts 17:24), this is no reason why the work we do for Him should be cheap or shoddy.
      3. (5) Solomon sees himself as the fulfillment of God’s covenant with David who will bring about a new era. (1 Chron.28:9,10 & 29:1)
        1. Newly established kings in the ancient Near East often began their reign by constructing a temple & palace. This marked a period of change and ensured that both the god(s) and the king were properly enthroned.
        2. David’s great preparations 1 Chron.29:1-9.
          1. Time is not wasted which is spent in preparation. F.B.Meyer
      4. Connecting with the world? - Do you only hire Christians to do work at your house/ business? - When is it right or wrong for believers to work with nonbelievers?
        1. When we do evangelism we can only use the support and understanding of other believers. But when believers seek to do justice in the world, we may find it both necessary and desirable to work with others who do not share our faith. eg. BACA (Bikers against child abuse). Law enforcement.
          1. We should have both humble cooperation and respectful provocation.
      5. (8) Cedars - erez refers to the Cedrus libani, a tree which can reach a height of 100’.
      6. Cypress - berosh Hb., refers to the Juniperus excels, a species of fir.
      7. (6) Cedar wood from Lebanon was famed from as early as the 3rd millennium bc until 300bc.
        1. The wood from the cypress tree is lightweight, durable and has no sap. Its wood is known for not being prone to common problems such as splintering, cracking, warping or splitting.
        2. Cedar wood is known for its strength, durability, and fragrance.
        3. It was highly prized by kings and thus exported throughout the ancient near E.
        4. The Psalmist likened a righteous man to a cedar from Lebanon.
          1. Ps.92:12,13 But the godly will flourish like palm trees and grow strong like the cedars of Lebanon. For they are transplanted to the Lord’s own house. They flourish in the courts of our God.
        5. ​​​​​​​The bible calls these forests the glory of Lebanon, Is.60:13 The glory of Lebanon shall come to you, The cypress, the pine, and the box tree together, To beautify the place of My sanctuary; And I will make the place of My feet glorious.
      8. ​​​​​​​For you know - yep Hiram does know this when he counters Solomon’s offer in v.9.
        1. Solomon may have hoped to gain knowledge about how the Sidonians cut their timber by sending his own laborers to help Hiram’s crew.
        2. Hiram suspects this and takes advantage of the situation (v.9).
      9. Sidonians - another name for the Phoenicians. The port of Sidon was used to transport lumber throughout the Mediterranean.
      10. (11) Pressed oil - describes the process by which fine olive oil was obtained.
      11. (12) The Fulcrum - Solomon's preparations for building God's house were centered on God's peace, God's promise, and God's purpose. Without them, his project was doomed to failure.
        1. There's a lesson here for all Christian ministries trying to build programs and visions.
        2. The psalmist says, Unless the Lord builds the house, its builders labor in vain. (Ps127:1)
        3. Spend time praying for your church & other ministries you support, that they would be grounded in God's peace & promise, & guided by God's purpose.
      12. So, why the change now from a tent to a building? (wandering/in the land) Ex.25-31 Tab/details
        1. The Tabernacle, is where God dwelt, or Tabernacled, with His people. Rev.21:3
    Copyright Statement
    These files are the property of Brian Bell.
    Text Courtesy of Calvary Chapel of Murrieta. Used by Permission.
    Bibliographical Information
    Bell, Brian. "Commentary on 1 Kings 5:6". "Brian Bell Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cbb/1-kings-5.html. 2017.

    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 5:6". "Chuck Smith Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/csc/1-kings-5.html. 2014.

    John Dummelow's Commentary on the Bible


    Solomon's Preparations for building the Temple

    1. Hiram] see 2 Samuel 5; 1 Chronicles 14:1. It has been questioned whether this Hiram, who was living as late as Solomon's twentieth year (1 Kings 9:10), is really identical with the Hiram mentioned in connexion with David (2 Samuel 5:11; 1 Chronicles 1:1), because, according to Josephus, his reign lasted only 34 years. But it is possible that David did not undertake the buildings in which Hiram assisted him until comparatively late in his life.

    3. Could not build an house] see 1 Chronicles 2:28. Here the reason given why David could not build the Temple is the turmoil that filled his reign.

    4. Occurrent] i.e. occurrence.

    5. As the Lord spake] see 2 Samuel 7:18.

    7. Blessed be the Lord] Hiram, who, as king of Tyre, was a worshipper of Melkarth and Ashtoreth, would not regard the Lord (Jehovah) as, the only God, but would acknowledge His as the God of Israel. Jehovah's existence and power were similarly recognised by the Syrian Naaman, who was himself a worshipper of Rimmon (2 Kings 5 u): cp. also the language of the Moabite king Balak (Numbers 23:17; Numbers 24:11).

    9. Convey them, etc.] RV make them into rafts to go by sea.' The place] Joppa (2 Chronicles 2:16). To be discharged] RV 'to be broken up.'

    11. Measures] Heb. cors (see on 1 Kings 4:22). For twenty measures of pure oil LXX has '20,000 baths of oil' (a 'bath' being one-tenth of a 'cor': cp. 2 Chronicles 2:10. For the export of corn and other produce from Judah to Tyre cp. Ezekiel 27:17. The nearness of Lebanon must have prevented the Tyrians from obtaining much corn from their own soil.

    13. Thirty thousand men] These were probably taken from native Israelites (cp. the prediction in 1 Samuel 8:11-18); whereas the 150,000 labourers mentioned in 1 Kings 5:15 were 'strangers that were in the land of Israel' (2 Chronicles 2:17 : cp. 1 Kings 9:20, 1 Kings 9:2). David seems to have imposed forced labour upon the latter only (1 Chronicles 22:2); and the different practice of his son caused the discontent that eventually rent the kingdom in two (1 Kings 12:4). 14. By courses] i.e. by turns or shifts. Adoniram] see 1 Kings 4:6, the Adoram of 1 Kings 12:18.

    17. Great stones] Some of these perhaps still remain, for stones 30 ft. long and 7J ft. high have been found (it is said) 'at the SW, angle of the wall of the Haram area in the modern Jerusalem.'

    18. The stonesquarers] RV 'Gebautes': the inhabitants of Gebal or Byblus, a maritime town at the foot of Lebanon.

    Copyright Statement
    These files are public domain.
    Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
    Bibliographical Information
    Dummelow, John. "Commentary on 1 Kings 5:6". "John Dummelow's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/dcb/1-kings-5.html. 1909.

    Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable

    Solomon"s request of Hiram5:1-6

    Hiram probably reigned from about980-947 B.C. [Note: Frank M. Cross, "An Interpretation of the Nora Stone," Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research208 (December1972):17. Cf. Merrill, p239.] Many scholars agree that his reign overlapped David"s by about nine years and Solomon"s by about24 (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.

    Copyright Statement
    These files are public domain.
    Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
    Bibliographical Information
    Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on 1 Kings 5:6". "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/dcc/1-kings-5.html. 2012.

    Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable

    1. Preparations for building ch5

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    Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on 1 Kings 5:6". "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/dcc/1-kings-5.html. 2012.

    Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

    (6) Cedar trees out of Lebanon.—The central range of Lebanon is bare; but in the lower ranges there is still—probably in old times there was to a far greater extent—a rich abundance of timber, specially precious to the comparatively treeless country of Palestine. The forest of Lebanon was proverbial for its beauty and fragrance (Song of Solomon 4:11; Hosea 14:6-7), watered by the streams from the snowy heights (Jeremiah 18:14), when all Palestine was parched up. The cedars which now remain—a mere group, at a height of about six thousand feet—are but a remnant of the once magnificent forest which “the Lord had planted” (Psalms 104:16). Solomon’s request—couched almost in the language of command—is simply for cedar wood, or rather, for skilled labour in felling and working it, for which the Tyrians were proverbially famed in all ancient records. For this labour he offers to pay; while he seems to take for granted a right for his own servants to come and bring away the timber itself. Hiram’s answer (1 Kings 5:8) mentions “timber of fir” also, which agrees exactly with the fuller account of Solomon’s request given in 2 Chronicles 2:8. The pine still grows abundantly in the sandstone regions of Lebanon; but it is almost certain that “the fir” here named is the cypress.

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    These files are public domain.
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    Bibliographical Information
    Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on 1 Kings 5:6". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/1-kings-5.html. 1905.

    Expositor's Dictionary of Texts

    The Spade-work of the Kingdom

    1 Kings 5:15

    Alike as to its structure, furniture, and services, the temple of Solomon had a spiritual and an evangelical signification. Our Lord institutes analogies between Himself and the temple, and the apostles repeatedly refer to the sacred palace as typical of the Christian Church. The temple on Zion, with everything relating to it, was full of prophetic significance; and we do no violence to the text when we see in it an anticipation of a large class of evangelical workers and of a considerable branch of evangelical work. Tens of thousands today "bear burdens," are "hewers in the mountains"—are servants of Christ, working in wild, difficult, and distant places; bending themselves to obscure tasks and the very drudgery of things that the living temple of a regenerate humanity may be built. About these particular workers of the kingdom we propose now to speak; to recognize the vastness and seriousness of their service, the greatness and certainty of their reward.

    I. The Initial Service in the Salvation and Uplifting of Man is peculiarly the Vocation of the Christian Church.

    1. The initial work of uplifting the race is spiritual.

    2. The initial work of uplifting the race is by spiritual workers beginning at the basement.

    II. The Initial Work of the Church of God Implies Immense Sacrifice.—The burden-bearers and hewers in the mountains encountered great trials and made severe sacrifices that the stone and timber necessary for Solomon"s temple might be forthcoming; and the living temple of a regenerate humanity is possible only as evangelical workers are prepared greatly to deny themselves. And tens of thousands of such workers are today making manifold sacrifices for the world"s salvation.

    III. The Splendid Hopefulness of this Initial Work.—Out of the rugged mountain and wild wood these strenuous workers brought the wondrous temple. Coarse, dull, forbidding as their toil might seem, it at last took shape as the palace of God. "Great stones, costly stones, hewed stones," formed the foundation of the house. "The doors were also of olive-tree; and he carved upon them carvings of cherubim, and palm-trees, and open flowers, and overlaid them with gold." "And the cedar of the house within was carved with gourds and open flowers

    Our undistinguished brethren are occupied with raw material; they are subject to distressing conditions; the result of their strain and sacrifice is often ambiguous and disappointing, yet is their work grander than they know; they build a living temple of moral splendour which no Nebuchadnezzar shall spoil, a New Jerusalem no Titus shall destroy.

    The sculptor can discern in the jagged quarry of Carrara galleries of beauteous imagery; in the wild forest of Lebanon the architect can see palaces and temples; and since Christ opened our eyes compounds and slums dazzle us with the most splendid possibilities of life and destiny.

    —W. L. Watkinson, The Fatal Barter, pp228-244.

    Reference.—VII:5, 6.—S. Baring-Gould, One Hundred Sermon Sketches.

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    Bibliographical Information
    Nicol, W. Robertson, M.A., L.L.D. "Commentary on 1 Kings 5:6". Expositor's Dictionary of Text. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/edt/1-kings-5.html. 1910.

    F.B. Meyer's 'Through the Bible' Commentary

    THE WISE KING’S GREAT PURPOSE

    1 Kings 4:29-34; 1 Kings 5:1-6

    David, before his death, had made great preparations for building the Temple, but had not been permitted to proceed with its construction. “Thou didst well that it was in thy heart,” 2 Chronicles 6:8. God credits us with what we would have done, had it been in our power. But now war on every side had been exchanged for peace, and the time for temple-building had come. A great principle is here involved which has many applications.

    It is true of the Church at large. When the Church throughout all Judea and Galilee had peace, it was edified; and as it walked in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit, it was multiplied, Acts 9:31. When the love of God reigns amid professing Christians, and they neither war against nor vex each other, then the world believes, and the very Hirams help to build.

    It is also true of the inner life. The days of peace are those in which the heart thrives. See 1 Thessalonians 5:23, and Hebrews 13:20. God is not in the earthquake nor in the fire, but in the “still small voice.” Cultivate a quiet heart, as did Mary, at the feet of Christ. It will result in deeds to be spoken of throughout the whole world, Luke 10:39 and Matthew 26:13.

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    Meyer, Frederick Brotherton. "Commentary on 1 Kings 5:6". "F. B. Meyer's 'Through the Bible' Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/fbm/1-kings-5.html. 1914.

    F.B. Meyer's 'Through the Bible' Commentary

    BREAKING THREE COMMANDMENTS

    1 Kings 21:1-29; 1 Kings 1:1-53; 1 Kings 2:1-46; 1 Kings 3:1-28; 1 Kings 4:1-34; 1 Kings 5:1-18; 1 Kings 6:1-38; 1 Kings 7:1-51; 1 Kings 8:1-66; 1 Kings 9:1-28; 1 Kings 10:1-29; 1 Kings 11:1-43; 1 Kings 12:1-33; 1 Kings 13:1-34; 1 Kings 14:1-31; 1 Kings 15:1-34; 1 Kings 16:1-34

    From a worldly point of view Naboth might have done a good stroke of business by selling his estate to. Ahab. A royal price and assured favor might have been his-but he had a conscience! Above the persuasive tones of the monarch’s offer sounded the voice of God: “The land shall not be sold for ever, for the land is mine.” See Leviticus 25:23; Numbers 36:7; Ezekiel 46:18.

    Ahab knew perfectly well that Jezebel could not give him the property of another except by foul means, but he took pains not to inquire. Though the direct orders for Naboth’s death did not come from him, yet, by his silence, he was an accomplice and an accessory; and divine justice penetrates all such specious excuses. God holds us responsible for wrongs which we do not arrest, though we have the power. The crime was blacker because of the pretext of religion, as suggested by a fast. See also 2 Kings 9:26. The blood of murdered innocence cries to God, and his requital, though delayed, is inevitable. See Revelation 6:9-10.

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    Meyer, Frederick Brotherton. "Commentary on 1 Kings 5:6". "F. B. Meyer's 'Through the Bible' Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/fbm/1-kings-5.html. 1914.

    Arno Gaebelein's Annotated Bible

    4. The Building of the Temple and its Dedication

    CHAPTER 5 Hiram King of Tyre

    1. Hiram sends servants to Solomon (1 Kings 5:1)

    2. The message of Solomon (1 Kings 5:2-6)

    3. Hiram’s answer and league with Solomon (1 Kings 5:7-12)

    4. Solomon’s workmen (1 Kings 5:13-18)

    In connection with 1 Kings 5-8 the chapters in 2 Chronicles should be read which give a more extensive account (2 Chronicles 2-5:11). Solomon now begins the great work, which may be called his life work, the building of the house of the LORD. Hiram heard of Solomon’s enthronement, and sent messengers to Solomon. This Gentile king was a lover of David. David had made before his death abundant material for the building of the house and Hiram had supplied much of it (1 Chronicles 22:4). Solomon requested that Hiram furnish cedar trees from Lebanon for the building of the house and Hiram agrees to float them down the coast. According to the request of Hiram, Solomon supplied Hiram’s household with 20,000 measures of wheat and twenty measures of oil. Hiram also sent a master-workman by name of Huram whose mother was a Jewess (2 Chronicles 2:13-14; 1 Kings 7:14). This cooperation of the Gentiles in building the temple is also prophetic, for the riches of the Gentiles are promised to Israel (Isaiah 40:6; Isaiah 54:3). Jews and Gentiles will unite to manifest His glory. A large number of workmen were needed. Two classes were employed. First there were 30,000 men out of Israel raised by a levy; 10,000 worked by relays of 10,000 a month. The second class was composed of strangers (1 Kings 5:15; 2 Chronicles 2:17-18), 150,000 in number; 70,000 were burden bearers and 80,000 hewers in stone. Over all were 3300 officers (verse 16) with 550 chiefs (1 Kings 9:23), of whom 250 were native Israelites (2 Chronicles 8:10). The great stones and the costly (splendid) stones and hewed stones are especially mentioned. They were for the foundation of the house. These stones may illustrate all those who as “living stones” are built up a spiritual house (1 Peter 2:5). Through Grace all those are taken out of nature’s place and prepared to fit into that marvellous temple of the Lord “fitly framed together--an holy temple in the Lord” (Ephesians 2:21).

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    Gaebelein, Arno Clemens. "Commentary on 1 Kings 5:6". "Gaebelein's Annotated Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gab/1-kings-5.html. 1913-1922.

    G. Campbell Morgan's Exposition on the Whole Bible

    Solomon turned his attention to building the Temple immediately after he had set his kingdom in order. The first movement in this direction was the treaty with Hiram, and sending relays of men to the forests and quarries to prepare the timber and the stones for the structure. This treaty with Hiram was the result of a legacy of friendship which David had bequeathed him.

    It is evident that Solomon appreciated the real purpose of his coming to the throne as he declared that he purposed in his heart to build this dwelling place for God in accordance with the divine word spoken to his father. The time was now opportune, for the nation was at peace, Solomon's own description of conditions being very significant, "But now the Lord my God hath given me rest on every side; there is neither adversary, nor evil occurrence."

    The greatness of the work thus undertaken is revealed by the final paragraph in the chapter, with its account of the enormous amount of labor employed.

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    Morgan, G. Campbell. "Commentary on 1 Kings 5:6". "G. Campbell Morgan Exposition on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gcm/1-kings-5.html. 1857-84.

    John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

    Now therefore command thou that they hew me cedars out of Lebanon,.... That is, order his servants to cut them down there for him. Some think that Lebanon belonged to the land of Israel, and therefore Solomon did not ask for the cedars upon it, but for his servants to hew them for him; but as it lay upon the borders of Israel, part of it might belong to them, and another part to Hiram, and on which the best cedars might grow, and so he furnished Solomon both with trees, and men to cut them, as it seems from 1 Kings 5:10; see also 2 Chronicles 2:3;

    and my servants shall be with thy servants: to assist them, and to carry the timber from place to place, and to learn how to hew timber:

    and unto thee will I give hire for thy servants, according to all that thou shalt appoint; pay them for their work and service, as Hiram himself should judge fit and reasonable for them; no mention being made of paying for the timber, seems to countenance the notion that the trees were Solomon's; but when the quantity of provisions sent yearly to Hiram for his household, besides what the servants had, is observed, it seems to have been sent as an equivalent to the timber received by Solomon, see 1 Kings 5:10;

    for thou knowest that there is not among us any that can skill to hew timber like unto the Sidonians; it is not said Tyrians, the Sidonians, perhaps, being more skilful in this than they were; and the Sidonians are said by HomerF25Iliad. 23. ver. 743. to be πολυδαιδαλοι, very ingenious: and they were both under the jurisdiction and at the command of Hiram; so EupolemusF26Ut supra. (Apud Euseb. Praepar. Evangel. l. 9. c. 32, 34.) makes the inscription of Solomon's letter to him to run thus, to Suron (that is, Hiram) king of Tyre, Sidon, and Phoenicia. The Jews being chiefly employed in husbandry, and in feeding cattle, were very unskilful in mechanic arts, and in this of cutting down trees, and hewing timber; for there is skill to be exercised therein; the proper time of cutting down trees should be observed, the part in which they are to be cut, and the position in which they are to be put when cut down, as VitruviusF1De Architectura, l. 2. c. 9. directs, with other things, and PlinyF2Nat. Hist. l. 16. c. 39. observes the same.

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    Gill, John. "Commentary on 1 Kings 5:6". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/1-kings-5.html. 1999.

    Geneva Study Bible

    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 b 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.

    (b) This was his equity, that he would not receive a benefit without some recompence.
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    Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on 1 Kings 5:6". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/1-kings-5.html. 1599-1645.

    George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

    Libanus. It belonged to Israel, since the victory of David, 2 Kings x. 18. Solomon built some fortresses on the mountain, chap. ix. 19. The cedar-trees grow chiefly towards Phenicia, above Biblos. They bear a great resemblance with fir-trees, and grow in a pyramidical form. The wood is hard and bitter, so that worms will not molest it. Hence it was much used in the temple of Ephesus, and in other large buildings; lacunaria ex ea....propter æternitatem sunt facta. (Vitruvius ii. 9.) --- Sidonians. It seems they were subject to the king of Tyre, or this was the common title of all the Phenicians. (Calmet)

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    Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on 1 Kings 5:6". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/1-kings-5.html. 1859.

    Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

    command thou that they hew me cedar trees out of Lebanon — Nowhere else could Solomon have procured materials for the woodwork of his contemplated building. The forests of Lebanon, adjoining the seas in Solomon‘s time, belonged to the Phoenicians, and the timber being a lucrative branch of their exports, immense numbers of workmen were constantly employed in the felling of trees as well as the transportation and preparation of the wood. Hiram stipulated to furnish Solomon with as large a quantity of cedars and cypresses as he might require and it was a great additional obligation that he engaged to render the important service of having it brought down, probably by the Dog river, to the seaside, and conveyed along the coast in floats; that is, the logs being bound together, to the harbor of Joppa (2 Chronicles 2:16), whence they could easily find the means of transport to Jerusalem.

    my servants shall be with thy servants — The operations were to be on so extensive a scale that the Tyrians alone would be insufficient. A division of labor was necessary, and while the former would do the work that required skilful artisans, Solomon engaged to supply the laborers.

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    Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on 1 Kings 5:6". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/1-kings-5.html. 1871-8.

    Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

    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.

    Command thou that they hew me cedar trees out of Lebanon [ '

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    Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on 1 Kings 5:6". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/1-kings-5.html. 1871-8.

    The People's Bible by Joseph Parker

    The Co-operation of Hiram

    1 Kings 5

    HIRAM is first mentioned in 2 Samuel 5:11, and a parallel passage will be found in 1 Chronicles 14:1, from which we learn that he sent workmen and materials to David for the building of his own palace. According to tradition, Hiram was a tributary or dependent monarch. The embassy which Hiram sent on this occasion was evidently meant to express the congratulations of the king of Tyre,—in 2 Chronicles 2:14-15 we find the words, "My lord," "My lord David thy father." There is a notable mixture of affection and reverence in the spirit which Hiram showed to Solomon; Hiram was "ever a lover of David," and yet he speaks of David in terms which an inferior would use to a superior. Hiram preserved the continuity of friendship, and herein showed himself an example, not only to monarchs but to other men. "Thine own friend, and thy father"s friend, forsake not." Solomon in returning an answer to the congratulations of Hiram was faithful to history as embodied in the person of his own father, and therefore was by so much qualified to continue what he believed to be the purpose and covenant of God. Solomon looked facts steadily in the face. In the book of Chronicles the condemnation which the Lord pronounced upon David is still more emphatically set forth: "But the word of the Lord came to me, saying, Thou hast shed blood abundantly, and hast made great wars: thou shalt not build an house unto my name, because thou hast shed much blood upon the earth in my sight" ( 1 Chronicles 22:8, 1 Chronicles 28:3; 2 Chronicles 2:3).

    Although Solomon was blessed with "rest on every side," and was enabled to look upon a future without so much as the shadow of an adversary upon it, yet he was determined not to be indolent. "And, behold, I purpose to build an house unto the name of the Lord my God "—this is the language of a strong man; this is the strength which increases by its own exercise. Suppose a man to come into the circumstances which we have described as constituting the royal position of Song of Solomon, and suppose that man destitute of an adequate and all-controlling purpose, it is easy to see how he would become the victim of luxury, and how what little strength he had would gradually be withdrawn from him. But at all events in the opening of Solomon"s career we see that the purpose was always uppermost, the soul was in a regnant condition, all outward pomp and circumstance was ordered back into its right perspective, and the king pursued a course of noble constancy as he endeavoured to realise the idea and intent of heaven. The same law applies to all prosperous men. To increase in riches is to increase in temptation, to indolence and self-idolatry: to external trust and vain confidence, to misanthropy, monopoly, and oppression; the only preventive or cure is the cultivation of a noble "purpose," so noble indeed as to throw almost into contempt everything that is merely temporal and earthly Solomon not only had inward and spiritual wisdom which comforted his mind, but he had an intention which required him always to travel out of himself, and to work for the glory of his kingdom and the benefit of his people. Every master, every great Prayer of Manasseh, every leader should build a house for God, a school for the ignorant, an asylum for the destitute, or in some other way realise a sublime purpose in life. Then let riches come tenfold, and they will not be too much to carry out a benevolence which knows no bound.

    Even the noblest purpose needs the co-operation of sympathetic and competent men:

    "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" ( 1 Kings 5:6).

    Thus the Jew seeks assistance from the Gentile in building the house of the Lord. How wonderful are the co-operations which are continually taking place in life! so subtly do they interblend, and make up that which is lacking in each other, that it is simply impossible to effect an exhaustive analysis. Nor would it be desirable that such an analysis should be completed. We cannot live upon analysis. We should fix our minds upon the great fact that no man liveth unto himself, that no man is complete in himself, that every man needs the help of every other Prayer of Manasseh, and thus we shall see how mysteriously is built the great temple of life, and is realised before the eyes of the universe the great purpose of God. Co-operation is only another word for the distributions which God has made of talent and opportunity. It might be supposed that co-operation was simply a human act; whereas in its outworking, it shows the marvellous distribution which God has made of capacity, resource, opportunity; how he has related one man to another, and one event to another; when we study co-operation in this light we see that it is but the under or visible side of divine providence, the bringing together of parts apparently sundered, yet which need only to approach one another to show that they were meant to act in harmony. Not only must there be co-operation between foreign powers, there must also be co-operation at home. This is made clear by the thirteenth verse:

    "And king Solomon raised a levy out of all Israel; and the levy was thirty thousand men." ( 1 Kings 5:13)

    In vain had Hiram responded in the language of generous sympathy if Israel itself had been a divided people. This must be the condition of the Church as a great working body in the world. It will be in vain that poetry, history, literature, music, and things which apparently lie outside the line of spiritual activity, send in their offers, tributes, and contributions, each according to its own kind, if the Church to which the offer is made is a divided and self-destroying body. When all Israel is one, the contributions of Tyre will be received with thankfulness and be turned to their highest uses. When the Church meets in one place with one accord, then there will come a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind; but that sound of blessing and inspiration will never come to a Church that is torn by intestinal strife.

    A beautiful picture is given in verse fourteen:

    "And he sent them to Lebanon, ten thousand a month by courses: a month they were in Lebanon, and two months at home." ( 1 Kings 5:14)

    The picture represents the difference between cutting down and setting up; in other words, the difference between destruction and construction. It was easier to cut down than it was to build up. Enough could be cut down in one month to require two months for the putting of it together in architectural form. The two operations should always go on together. The business of the Church is to pull down, and to build up; even to use the materials of the enemy in building up the temple of the living God. The picture has an evident relation to the ease with which men can pull down faith and darken hope and unsettle confidence. What can be easier than to fell a tree which has required centuries in which to perfect its strength and beauty? Who could not in one hour, having made proper preparation, blow to pieces the finest fabric ever reared by the genius of man? Who could not by one blow destroy a picture painted by the hand of the greatest master? The picture also shows us the beautiful idea of foreign labour and home service being united in the same men. Thus the work of foreign missions should help the work of missions at home. Every idolatry that is thrown down abroad should be turned into a contribution for the upbuilding and strengthening of the Church at home. Sometimes there is greater difficulty at home than there is on the distant mountains or in the provinces of a foreign king. The Christian, turning all these historical instances to their highest spiritual uses, should know himself to be bound to destroy and to create, to tear up and to plant, and to conduct generally the double and contradictory work of uprooting error and planting the vine of heavenly truth.

    "And the king commanded, and they brought great stones, costly stones, and hewed stones, to lay the foundation of the house. And Solomon"s builders and Hiram"s builders did hew them, and the stonesquarers: so they prepared timber and stones to build the house" ( ).

    The care thus shown of the foundation is another instance of the wisdom of Solomon. The stones which were used in the foundation were in no sense considered insignificant or worthless. We cannot read the epithets which are applied to them without being reminded of the foundation which God himself has laid in Zion. There is no straining of the merely historical event connected with Solomon"s temple in seeing in it hints and suggestions regarding the greater temple of which it was but a faint emblem. The stones which Solomon used are described as "great stones, costly stones, and hewed stones;" the terms which are used to describe the foundation which was laid in Zion are these—"A stone, a tried stone, a precious corner-stone, a sure foundation." We read also of the foundations of the wall of the city which John saw in vision—"The wall of the city had twelve foundations, and in them the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb."

    A curious illustration of the union between the permanent and the temporary is shown in all earthly arrangements. Solomon laid foundations which might have lasted as long as the earth itself endured. Judging by the foundations alone, one would have said concerning the work of Song of Solomon, This is meant for permanence; no thought of change or decay ever occurred to the mind of the man who laid these noble courses. It is the same with ourselves in nearly all the relations of life. We know that we may die today, yet we lay plans which will require years and generations to accomplish. We are perfectly aware that our breath is in our nostrils, yet we build houses which we intend to stand for centuries—knowing that we cannot occupy them ourselves, yet by some impulse or instinct which we cannot control, in building for ourselves we build for others, and it is to the future that we owe the strength of the present. Yet we often speak as having no obligation to the future, or as if the future would do nothing for us, not knowing that it is the future which makes the present what it Isaiah, and that but for the future all our inspiration would be lost because our hope would perish. Let us see that our foundations are strong. He who is more anxious for decoration than solidity knows not the climate in which he builds, and knows not the forces by which his work will be assailed. In all building consider strength first, and beauty next Especially let this be so in the building of character. Let even the foundations be of precious stones, as of jasper and sapphire, chalcedony and emerald, sardonyx and sardius, chrysolite and beryl, topaz and chrysoprasus, jacinth and amethyst. Having spent such great and costly care upon the foundations, surely we cannot but be just to ourselves in making the superstructure worthy of the base on which it stands.

    A beautiful illustration of contrast and harmony is to be found in the distribution which Solomon made of his workers and the labour they were required to undertake:—"And Solomon had threescore and ten thousand that bare burdens, and fourscore thousand hewers in the mountains; beside the chief of Solomon"s officers which were over the work, three thousand and three hundred, which ruled over the people that wrought in the work" ( ). Here we find burden-bearers, hewers in the mountains, officers, and rulers. There was no standing upon one level or claiming of one dignity. Each man did what he could according to the measure of his capacity, and each man did precisely what he was told to do by his commanding officer. It is in vain to talk about any equality that does not recognise the principle of order and the principle of obedience. Our equality must be found in our devotion, in the pureness of our purpose, in the steadfastness of our loyalty, and not in merely official status or public prominence. The unity of the Church must be found, not in its forms, emoluments, dignities, and the like, but in the simplicity of its faith and the readiness of its eager and affectionate obedience. Looking for a moment at the seventeenth verse, we find the arrangement perfected by the words "and the king commanded." Now let us read the whole as if it were a catalogue—burden-bearers, hewers in the mountains, officers, rulers,—and the king commanded. There is the true picture of a working Church. There is no indignity in any department of Church service. It is honour enough for an angel to go upon any errand which God may appoint. Looking at ourselves and amongst ourselves, we may begin to speak about diversity of honours, but looking at God and taking our commands from him, we shall not fasten our attention upon the thing which has to be done as compared with something which another man may be called to do, but shall see in the glory of the King, honour enough to fill not only our ambition but our imagination.

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    Parker, Joseph. "Commentary on 1 Kings 5:6". The People's Bible by Joseph Parker. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jpb/1-kings-5.html. 1885-95.

    Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments

    1 Kings 5:1. Tyre, situate on a strong island, was anciently called Zor or Zur, Thevenot supposes from Syria. The Arabs still call it Sor.

    1 Kings 5:15. Threescore and ten thousand. If we add the thirty thousand, and the eighty thousand, then the whole of the workmen were a hundred and ninety thousand. When a flourishing nation has little foreign trade, it is wise to employ the people in great and useful public works. Such was the wisdom of the Egyptians and the Greeks. The best writers on the structure of the temple are Villapandus, Ribberamus, Montanus, and our Dr. Lightfoot. The writing, that is, the drawing, or general plan of the temple, David affirms that he received it from the Lord. 1 Chronicles 28:19. The proportions however are analogous to those of the tabernacle; the main difference lies in the magnitude.

    1 Kings 5:18. They prepared timber and stones. Septuagint, “They were three years in preparing timber and stones.”

    REFLECTIONS.

    Solomon, divinely appointed to the throne, began his reign with all the ardour common to youths of extraordinary endowments. He proceeded with the improvements of his empire in every view; but his grand object was to finish the preparations for the temple, and then proceed with the work without delay. In this age the nations are employed in building shipping, and in the extension of commerce, sources of greater wealth than temples, which were regarded as permanent monuments of national genius, affluence, and industry. And when the darkness of gentile superstition was vanquished by the superior lustre and divine excellence of christianity, the spirit of the nations was turned to the erection of churches, not inferior in architectural magnificence to many of the temples.

    Hiram sent an embassy to congratulate Solomon on his accession to the throne. This was dictated by the wisdom and politeness of early nations; and it tended to promote harmony, peace, and good understanding among them. But here, the good understanding and covenant between the two kings, tended also to supply Solomon with the best artists to build the temple, to fortify his cities, and elevate his magnificent palaces. So when God has a great work to do, he brings forth out of his treasures the requisite means and resources.

    Tyre being the mart of the east, it had attracted the best artificers of Egypt and of Greece; and now they join with Israel and consecrate their skill in raising a temple to the Lord of hosts. This cannot but remind us of our blessed Lord, who after laying the foundation of his spiritual church, presently found among the converted gentiles some of the ablest ministers of his kingdom. One has remarked that the christian fathers came into the church loaded with Egyptian gold. So it was with Tertullian, Basil, Chrysostom, and a multitude more; and though many of them brought dross with the gold, it is really difficult for a man wholly to divest himself of early habits, and the prejudices of education. Solomon having received his plan from God, it could admit of no deviations, or imaginary improvements: so in the doctrine and discipline of Christ we must hold fast the form of sound words, and walk by the same rule. The foundation being laid, let every minister take heed how he builds thereon.

    The massy stones and the cedar beams were all prepared before they arrived at Jerusalem, which saved much in the carriage, and avoided confusion in the place of the building. Let the christian world from hence learn, that whatever sweating it may cause to fell the proud cedar of Lebanon, or to dig the rude stone from the earth, the work must proceed. Difficulties must all be surmounted. The early work of conversion is indeed often noisy, and it costs many a hard stroke before the flinty stone will yield; but after awhile the sinner may receive a high polish of grace, and ultimately fill for ever a glorious place in the spiritual temple. If I may not be a pillar in the house of my God, nor a corner stone, nor a cedar beam, let me nevertheless be the humblest stone in that mansion, that I may dwell in thy presence for evermore.

    If the workmen spent three years in preparing timber and stones according to the plan, it is high time for every sinner to think of his salvation; and not to delude himself with the idle dream that all this work can be done by a single sigh, or a deceitful prayer in the hour of death. That gross ignorance, that proud and seared conscience, those vicious habits must receive some of the hardest strokes of the Spirit, before a sinner so hardened and aged can see the kingdom of heaven.

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    Bibliographical Information
    Sutcliffe, Joseph. "Commentary on 1 Kings 5:6". Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jsc/1-kings-5.html. 1835.

    John Trapp Complete Commentary

    1 Kings 5:6 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.

    Ver. 6. That they hew me cedar trees out of Lebanon.] Satan, though he could not hinder the building of the temple, [1 Kings 5:4] yet he would needs imitate it, and, if possible, outdo it; for his temple of Diana, at Ephesus, was likewise built of cedar, as Vitruvius relateth, and was much longer and larger than this at Jerusalem, as others assure us.

    And my servants shall be with thy servants.] Only Jews meddled with the tabernacle; but the temple is not built without the aid of the Gentile Tyrians. They, together with us, make up the Church of God. See Ephesians 2:13-14.

    That can skill to hew timber like unto the Sidonians.] Various men have their various gifts; and various countries their various abilities. These, as they have from God, so they must use them for him. [Isaiah 28:26; Isaiah 28:29 Romans 11:36]

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    Trapp, John. "Commentary on 1 Kings 5:6". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/1-kings-5.html. 1865-1868.

    Keil & Delitzsch Old Testament Commentary

    Solomon's negotiations with Hiram of Tyre . - 1 Kings 5:1. When king Hiram of Tyre heard that Solomon had been anointed king in the place of David, he sent his servants, i.e., an embassage, to Solomon, to congratulate him (as the Syriac correctly explains) on his ascent of the throne, because he had been a friend of David the whole time ( כּל־הימים, i.e., as long as both of them David and Hiram were kings). On Hiram and the length of his reign, see the remarks on 2 Samuel 5:11. This is passed over in the Chronicles as having no essential bearing upon the building of the temple.

    1 Kings 5:2-3

    Solomon thereupon communicated to Hiram, by means of an embassy, his intention to carry out the building of the temple which his father projected, and asked him for building wood from Lebanon for the purpose. From the words, “Thou knowest that my father David could not build,” etc., it is evident that David had not only been busily occupied for a long time with the plan for building a temple, but that he had already commenced negotiations with Hiram on the matter; and with this 1 Chronicles 22:4 agrees. “To the name of Jehovah:” this expression is based upon Deuteronomy 12:5 and Deuteronomy 12:11 : “the place which the Lord shall choose to put His name there, or that His name may dwell there.” The name of Jehovah is the manifestation of the divine nature in a visible sign as a real pledge of His presence (see at 1 Kings 12:5), and not merely numen Jovae quatenus ab hominibus cognoscitur, colitur, celebratur (Winer, Thenius). Hence in 2 Sam 7, to which Solomon refers, בּית לי בּנה (1 Kings 5:5, 1 Kings 5:7) alternates with לשׁמי בּית בּנה (1 Kings 5:13). On the obstacle which prevented it, “because of the war, with which they (the enemies) had surrounded me,” see at 2 Samuel 7:9. On the construction, סבב with a double accusative, compare the very similar passage, Psalms 109:3, which fully establishes the rendering we have given, so that there is no necessity to assume that מלחמה, war, stands for enemies (Ewald, §317, b .).

    1 Kings 5:4

    “And now Jehovah my God has given me rest roundabout,” such as David never enjoyed for a permanency (cf. 2 Samuel 7:1). “No adversary is there.” This is not at variance with 1 Kings 11:14, for Hadad's enterprise belonged to a later period (see the comm. on that passage). “And no evil occurrence:” such as the rebellions of Absalom and Sheba, the pestilence at the numbering of the people, and other events which took place in David's reign.

    1 Kings 5:5

    “Behold, I intend to build.” אמר followed by an infinitive, as in Exodus 2:14; 2 Samuel 21:16. “As Jehovah spake to David;” viz., 2 Samuel 7:12, 2 Samuel 7:13.

    1 Kings 5:6-7

    “And now command that they fell me cedars from Lebanon.” We may see from 1 Kings 5:8 that Solomon had also asked for cypresses; and according to the parallel passage 2 Chronicles 2:6., he had asked for a skilful artist, which is passed over here, so that it is only in 1 Kings 7:13-14 that we find a supplementary notice that Hiram had sent one. It is evident from this request, that that portion of Lebanon on which the cedars suitable for building wood grew, belonged to the kingdom of Hiram. The cedar forest, which has been celebrated from very ancient times, was situated at least two days' journey to the north of Beirut, near the northernmost and loftiest summits of the range, by the village of Bjerreh, to the north of the road which leads to Baalbek and not far to the east of the convent of Canobin, the seat of the patriarch of the Maronites, although Seetzen, the American missionaries, and Professor Ehrenberg found cedars and cedar groves in other places on northern Lebanon (see Rob. Pal . iii. 440,441, and Bibl. Res . pp. 588ff.). The northern frontier of Canaan did not reach as far as Bjerreh (see at Numbers 34:8-9). “My servants shall be with thy servants,” i.e., shall help them in the felling of the wood. “And the wages of thy servants will I give to thee altogether as thou sayest.” “For thou knowest that no one among us is skilful in felling trees like the Sidonians.” This refers to the knowledge of the most suitable trees, of the right time for felling, and of the proper treatment of the wood. The expression Sidonians stands for Phoenicians generally, since Sidon was formerly more powerful than Tyre, and that portion of Lebanon which produced the cedars belonged to the district of Sidon. The inhabitants of Sidon were celebrated from time immemorial as skilful builders, and well versed in mechanical arts (compare Rob. Pal . iii. 421ff., and Movers, Phoenizier, ii. 1, pp. 86ff.).

    Hiram rejoiced exceedingly at this proposal on the part of Solomon, and praised Jehovah for having given David so wise a son as his successor (1 Kings 7:7). It must have been a matter of great importance to the king of Tyre to remain on good terms with Israel, because the land of Israel was a granary for the Phoenicians, and friendship with such a neighbour would necessarily tend greatly to promote the interests of the Phoenician commerce. The praise of Jehovah on the part of Hiram does not presuppose a full recognition of Jehovah as the only true God, but simply that Hiram regarded the God of Israel as being as real a God as his own deities. Hiram expresses a fuller acknowledgment of Jehovah in 2 Chronicles 2:11, where he calls Jehovah the Creator of heaven and earth; which may be explained, however, from Hiram's entering into the religious notions of the Israelites, and does not necessarily involve his own personal belief in the true deity of Jehovah.

    1 Kings 5:8-11

    Hiram then sent to Solomon, and promised in writing ( בּכתב, 2 Chronicles 2:10) to comply with his wishes. אלי שׁלחתּ אשׁר את, “that which thou hast sent to me,” i.e., hast asked of me by messenger. ברושׁים are not firs, but cypresses. “My servants shall bring down (the trees) from Lebanon to the sea, and I will make them into rafts (i.e., bind them into rafts and have them floated) upon the sea to the place which thou shalt send (word) to me, and will take them (the rafts) to pieces there, and thou wilt take (i.e., fetch them thence).” The Chronicles give Yafo, i.e., Joppa, Jaffa, the nearest harbour to Jerusalem on the Mediterranean Sea, as the landing-place (see at Joshua 19:46). “And thou wilt do all my desire to give bread for my house,” i.e., provisions to supply the wants of the king's court. “The שׂכר mentioned in 1 Kings 5:6 was also to be paid” (Thenius). This is quite correct; but Thenius is wrong when he proceeds still further to assert, that the chronicler erroneously supposed this to refer to the servants of Hiram who were employed in working the wood. There is not a word of this kind in the Chronicles; but simply Solomon's promise to Hiram (1 Kings 5:9): “with regard to the hewers (the fellers of the trees), I give thy servants wheat 20,000 cors, and barley 20,000 cors, and wine 20,000 baths, and oil 20,000 baths.” This is omitted in our account, in which the wages promised in 1 Kings 5:6 to the Sidonian fellers of wood are not more minutely defined. On the other hand, the payment for the wood delivered by Solomon to Hiram, which is not mentioned in the Chronicles, is stated here in 1 Kings 5:11. “Solomon gave Hiram 20,000 cors of wheat as food ( מכּלת, a contraction of מאכלת, from אכל ; cf. Ewald, §79, b .) for his house (the maintenance of his royal court), and 20 cors of beaten oil; this gave Solomon to Hiram year by year,” probably as long as the delivery of the wood or the erection of Solomon's buildings lasted. These two accounts are so clear, that Jac. Capp., Gramt., Mov., Thenius, and Bertheau, who have been led by critical prejudices to confound them with one another, and therefore to attempt to emend the one from the other, are left quite alone. For the circumstance that the quantity of wheat, which Solomon supplied to Hiram for his court, was just the same as that which he gave to the Sidonian workmen, does not warrant our identifying the two accounts. The fellers of the trees also received barley, wine, and oil in considerable quantities; whereas the only other thing which Hiram received for his court was oil, and that not common oil, but the finest olive oil, namely 20 cors of כּתית שׁמן, i.e., beaten oil, the finest kind of oil, which was obtained from the olives when not quite ripe by pounding them in mortars, and which had not only a whiter colour, but also a purer flavour than the common oil obtained by pressing from the ripe olives (cf. Celsii Hierobot . ii. pp. 349f., and Bähr, Symbolik, i. p. 419). Twenty cors were 200 baths, i.e., according to the calculations of Thenius, about ten casks (1 cask = 6 pails; 1 pail = 72 cans). If we bear in mind that this was the finest kind of oil, we cannot speak of disproportion to the quantity of wheat delivered. Thenius reckons that 20,000 cors of wheat were about 38,250 Dresden scheffeln (? sacks).

    1 Kings 5:12

    The remark that “the Lord gave Solomon wisdom” refers not merely to the treaty which Solomon made with Hiram, through which he obtained materials and skilled workmen for the erection of the house of God (Thenius), but also to the wise use which he made of the capacities of his own subjects for this work. For this verse not only brings to a close the section relating to Solomon's negotiations with Hiram, but it also forms an introduction to the following verses, in which the intimation given by Solomon in 1 Kings 5:6, concerning the labourers who were to fell wood upon Lebanon in company with Hiram's men, is more minutely defined.

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    Keil, Carl Friedrich & Delitzsch, Franz. "Commentary on 1 Kings 5:6". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/kdo/1-kings-5.html. 1854-1889.

    Kingcomments on the Whole Bible

    Plan to Build the Temple

    Solomon answered the rapprochement of Hiram with a request for help with the building of the temple. He precedes his request by reminding Hiram of David's plan to build a house for the LORD and why he was not allowed to do so (1Kgs 5:2-3). Because of his wars and bloodshed, David was not allowed to build the temple (1Chr 22:8). David is a picture of the Lord Jesus who fought the battle of God. On earth He could not build the temple.

    Solomon is a picture of the glorified Lord and as such he is the builder of the temple. The basis for the building is rest (1Kgs 5:4). Rest is the rest of the glorified Lord. From Acts 2, after completing His work of redemption, in which every enemy is defeated and there is rest, the Lord Jesus builds the temple, the church.

    In some respects, it is also true today that there can be no building of the house of God, that there can be no building of the church, if we have to fight to preserve the truths that are entrusted to us (Jude 1:3). Nor will the building of the church come to nothing if the believers are at odds with each other because of all kinds of quarrels and insignificant differences of opinion.

    Because of many abuses in the church in Corinth and errors that had found their way into the churches in Galatia, Paul could not share much there to build up the church. He first had to correct there in order to clear the way for further building. If there is peace, building up can take place. "So the church throughout all Judea and Galilee and Samaria enjoyed peace, being built up" (Acts 9:31a).

    Then Solomon tells that he plans to build that house for the LORD (1Kgs 5:5). He does not do this on his own initiative, but because it is according to the will of God, which he has made known to his father David.

    Solomon invites Hiram and declares to him the mystery of God concerning the temple and that is that also gentiles are involved in its building (1Kgs 5:6). They may help, in recognition of the gifts they have. For the building of the temple David, Solomon's father, gathered gold and silver in abundance (1Chr 29:2).

    However, wood is also needed. Solomon asks Hiram. In return, Solomon promises wages. He does not negotiate about it, but will give Hiram whatever he may ask. That important the building of God's house is to Solomon. Hiram promises to give him everything he needs.

    Solomon knows the special abilities of the Sidonians and appealed to them for building the temple. Despite the fact that he far surpasses Hiram in wealth and stature, he still appeals to him. This means that we must never look down on those who may not be as richly blessed socially or spiritually as we are. Spiritual riches should never be something on which we boast. We must always be aware: "What do you have that you did not receive" (1Cor 4:7)?


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    de Koning, Ger. Commentaar op 1 Kings 5:6". "Kingcomments on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/kng/1-kings-5.html. 'Stichting Titus' / 'Stichting Uitgeverij Daniël', Zwolle, Nederland. 2021.

    The Popular Commentary by Paul E. Kretzmann

    Solomon's Message to Hiram

    v. 1. And Hiram, king of Tyre, sent his servants unto Solomon, being one of those kings whose ambassadors brought good wishes to the king of Israel and Judah; for he had heard that they had anointed him in the room of his father; for Hiram was ever a lover of David. He had reigned even in the time of David, and now that Solomon's accession to the throne was announced, the admirer of the father sent his congratulations to the son.

    v. 2. And Solomon, in continuing the friendly relations which had existed between his father and Hiram, sent to Hiram, dispatched an embassy to him, saying,

    v. 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, his enemies, under the soles of his feet. David had entered into negotiations with Hiram to furnish the material for the Temple which he had planned, even before he revealed his intention to the prophet Nathan. When he had finally made known his plane, the Lord had vetoed the proposition, 2Sa_7:5.

    v. 4. But now the Lord, my God, hath given me rest on every side, not a single enemy venturing an attack at that time, so that there is neither adversary nor evil occurrent, such as the rebellions of Absalom and of Sheba at the time of his father.

    v. 5. And, behold, I purpose, he herewith announced his intention, to build an 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 an house unto my name, 2Sa_7:13; for in that Messianic promise, according to the nature of prophecy, events near at hand are mingled with those afar off.

    v. 6. Now, therefore, command thou that they, Hiram's servants, hew me cedar-trees out of Lebanon, for the finest specimens of this tree grew on the northwestern slopes of the Lebanon, in the territory of Phenicia; 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, they would surely be able to come to some agreement; for thou knowest that there is not among us any that can skill to hew timber like unto the Sidonians. The men of Sidon had a reputation as builders, for they were continually engaged in ship-building, and constant practice gave them the skill which they needed for their work. It seems that Hiram belonged to those heathen who, at that time, knew the true God and believed in Him, as his answer indicates.

    v. 7. And it came to pass, when Hiram heard the words of Solomon, as transmitted to him by the members of the embassy, that he rejoiced greatly and said, Blessed be the Lord this day, which hath given unto David a wise son over this great people. Good, wise rulers are a gift of God and should be acknowledged as such.

    v. 8. And Hiram sent to Solomon, saying, in a letter, 2Ch_2:11, 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, acting in everything according to Solomon's good pleasure.

    v. 9. My servants shall bring them down from Lebanon unto the sea, by floating the logs down on the streams; and I will convey them by sea in floats, that is, rafts, unto the place that thou shalt appoint me, and will cause them to be discharged there, and thou shalt receive them; and thou shalt, in return, in payment, accomplish my desire in giving food for my household.

    v. 10. So Hiram gave Solomon cedar-trees and fir-trees, cypress-trees whose wood is practically imperishable and not readily attacked by worms, according to all his desire, as many as he asked for. It is an evidence of the grace and mercy of God that He, at all times, has had His chosen people among the heathen also. This was prophetical of the New Testament period, when the kingdom of Messiah has been extended to include the fullness of the Gentiles.

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    Kretzmann, Paul E. Ph. D., D. D. "Commentary on 1 Kings 5:6". "Kretzmann's Popular Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/kpc/1-kings-5.html. 1921-23.

    Lange's Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Critical, Doctrinal and Homiletical

                 THIRD SECTION

    Solomon’s Buildings

    ( 1 Kings 5:1, 5:15]– 1 Kings 9:28.)

    A.—Treaty with Hiram in regard to the building of the Temple

    1 Kings 5:1-18. 15–32]

    1And Hiram king of Tyre sent his servants unto Solomon;[FN1] for he had heard that they had anointed him king in the room of his father: for Hiram was ever 2 a lover of David. And Solomon sent to Hiram, saying, 3Thou knowest how that David my father could not build a house unto the name of the Lord his God, for the wars[FN2] which were about him on every side, until the Lord put them under the soles of his[FN3] 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[FN4] to build a house unto the name of the Lord my God, as the Lord spake unto David my father, saying, Thy Song of Solomon, whom I will set upon thy throne in thy room, he shall build a [the] 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.

    7And it came to pass, when Hiram heard the words of Song of Solomon, that he rejoiced greatly, and said, Blessed be the Lord[FN5] [Jehovah] this day, which hath given unto David a wise son over this great people 8 And Hiram sent to Song of 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 10 So Hiram gave Solomon cedar trees and fir trees according to all his desire 11 And Solomon gave Hiram twenty thousand measures [cor] of wheat for food to his household, and twenty measures [cor[FN6]] of pure oil: thus gave Solomon to Hiram year by year 12 And the Lord gave Solomon Wisdom of Solomon, as he promised him: and there was peace between Hiram and Solomon; and they two made a league together.

    13And king Solomon raised a levy out of all Israel; and the levy was thirty thousand men 14 And he sent them to Lebanon, ten thousand a month by courses: a month they were in Lebanon, and two months at home: and Adoniram was over the levy 15 And Solomon had threescore and ten thousand that 16 bare burdens, and fourscore thousand hewers in the mountains; besides the chief of Solomon’s officers which were over the work, three thousand and three[FN7] [FN8] hundred, which ruled over the people that wrought in the work 17 And the king commanded, and they brought great stones, costly stones, and hewed stones, to lay the foundation of the house 18 And Solomon’s builders and Hiram’s builders did hew them, and the stonesquarers: so they prepared timber and stones to build the house.

    Exegetical and Critical

    1 Kings 5:1-6. And Hiram king of Tyre, &c. After the general description of Solomon’s government in the preceding section, the narrative now proceeds to give an account of his great and important undertaking, the building of the Temple (comp. the parallel account, 2 Chronicles 2). Hiram is called חִירוֹם in 1 Kings5:7, 19, and חוּרָם in Chron, and Εἵρωμος twice in Josephus. It is uncertain whether of these be the original form. According to 2 Chronicles 2:2, and the present passage also, this Hiram was the same as he who had sent David wood to build his house ( 2 Samuel 5:11), and it is unnecessary, on the ground of the unreliable chronology of Josephus, to reckon him to be the son of that Hiram (having his father’s name) as Le Clerc, Thenius, and others do (Antiq,viii31; comp. Contr. Apion,i18). If, according to Josephus, the beginning of the building of the Temple, which took place in the fourth year of Solomon’s reign, occurred in the eleventh year of Hiram, it follows that the latter must have reigned several years contemporaneously with David, and may very well have reigned twenty years more, simultaneously with Solomon ( 1 Kings 9:10 sq.).—The purpose of his embassy to Solomon was to congratulate him on his accession. (The Syriac adds וַיְבָרֶךְ אֹתוֹ, which Thenius, without reason, deems original). It was evidence that he desired Solomon to continue in the same friendly relations to him as David had maintained; and it was the easier for Solomon to make that request to him, mentioned in 1 Kings 5:6. On 1 Kings 5:7-9, comp. 2 Samuel 8:13, and 1 Chronicles 22:7-11. According to Ewald and Thenius, מלחמה, ver3, is equivalent to enemies (surrounding him); but in Psalm 109:3, סבב is also bund with the double accusative: they compassed me about also with words of hatred. Upon לְשֵׁם יְהוָֹה, see on chap6—פֶּגַע רָע, i.e, an unhappy event, as, for instance, rebellion, famine, plague, or other suffering. It appears, from 1 Kings 5:6, that the part of Lebanon where the best cedars for building grew, belonged to Phœnicia; it was on the northwestern part of the mountain range (Robinson, Palest, vol. iii. pp588–594). The Sidonians are not the inhabitants of the city of Sidon simply, but of the entire district to which that part of Lebanon belonged. They knew how to hew and prepare wood for building, for they were skilled in ship-building beyond all other nations, and built their own houses also of wood (Schnaase, Gesch. der bildenden Künste,i. s. 249). We see from 1 Kings 5:8 and 1 Kings 7:13, that Solomon desired cypress-wood, and a Phœnician artisan besides (comp. 2 Chronicles 2:7; 2 Chronicles 2:13).

    1 Kings 5:7-8. And it came to pass when Hiram, heard the words of Song of Solomon, &c. “ The king of Tyre must have been very desirous of remaining on good terms with Israel, because the land of Israel was a granary for Phoenicia, and the friendship of the former was very important to the Phoenician commercial interests “(Keil). The chronicler adds to יְהֹוָה ( 2 Chronicles 2:12), the God of Israel that made heaven and earth. It does not follow, however, as older commentators say, that Hiram acknowledged this God as the only true God, or had become a proselyte. Polytheism is not exclusive: it allows each nation to retain its divinity, and recognizes his power, when it thinks it perceives his workings or his agency and benefactions, without rejecting the specifically national gods. When Hiram, therefore, names Solomon חָכָם, because he is about to build a temple to Jehovah, it is evident that the idea of wisdom ( 1 Kings 5:7), essentially includes that of religion (fear of God). Cypress Isaiah, indeed, inferior to cedar; but is also fitted for building, because “it is not eaten by worms, and is almost imperishable, as well as very light” (Winer). According to 2 Chronicles 2:16, the wood for building was sent down on rafts (on the Mediterranean) to Joppa (i.e, Jaffa, coast-town on the borders of the tribe of Daniel, Joshua 19:46). Thence it was conveyed overland to Jerusalem, which is situated southeast thereof.

    1 Kings 5:9-13. And thou shalt … in giving food, &c. Every year, as long as Hiram furnished building-materials and workmen, he received, for the sustenance of his court, 20,000[FN9] (cor) measures of wheat, i.e, by Thenius’ reckoning, 38, 250 Dresden bushels, from Solomon; also20 (cor) measures of oil, i.e, 100 casks, the cask containing6 buckets. Pure oil is the finest, not going, after the usual fashion, through the press, but is obtained by pounding olives not quite ripe in a mortar (my Symbolik des Mos. Cult., i. s. 419). The chronicler does not mention this delivery to the court of Hiram; but he gives, in 2 Chronicles 2:10, the reward of the laborers promised in our 6 th verse: “I will give to thy servants, the hewers that cut timber, 20,000 (cor) measures of beaten wheat, and20,000 (cor) measures of barley, and20,000 baths of wine, and20,000 baths of oil.” The narrative here concerns a different thing, and no one has a right, as Thenius, to turn the20 (cor) measures of the finest oil, destined for the court, into20,000 of ordinary quality, and to suppose, with Bertheau, that the quantity of wine and oil is added by the chronicler according to his own whim. “Because the quantity of the wheat which Solomon gave Hiram for the use of the court was as large as that which he delivered for the Sidonian hewers of wood, it does not follow that we are justified in identifying the two accounts” (Keil). Besides, as Bertheau remarks, it appears that the account in the Chronicles does not, like our own, speak of an annual, but only of one delivery. The one account, as often happens, supplements the other. The addition, 1 Kings 5:12, means: Song of Solomon, by virtue of the wisdom he had received from God, came to the conclusion that it would be well to accept Hiram’s propositions, and to enter into terms of friendship with him. Keil also thinks that the verse refers to the wise use he made of the working capacities of his subjects, which is referred to in the following verses, and that this verse, therefore, leads on to them.

    1 Kings 5:13-15. And king Solomon raised a levy.וַיַּעַל, strictly adscendere fecit, to take out, to take away ( Psalm 102:25). All Israel does not mean here the whole territory, but, as often elsewhere, the people ( 1 Kings 1:20; 1 Kings 8:65; 1 Kings 12:16; 1 Kings 12:20; 1 Kings 14:13). In 1 Kings 5:13 it is expressly said that these30,000 men were (born) Israelites. Of these, 10,000 were always one month in service, and free the two following, when they cultivated their fields and took care of their houses. For Adoniram, see 1 Kings 4:6.—Besides these30,000 men, who were not sufficient, there were ( 1 Kings 5:15) 70,000 that bore burdens, and80,000 hewers in the mountains. חצב, Isaiah, “according to all Versions, to be understood of stone-cutters alone, not of wood-cutters (Gesenius, Ewald), for the (easier) working in wood was sufficiently provided for by the changing30,000 laborers” (Thenius). The בָּהָר can be understood only of Lebanon, from the context, and not, as Bertheau thinks, of the stone-quarries of the mountains. The70+80,000 = 150,000 men ( 2 Chronicles 2:18) were not changed, but were in constant service; they were not Israelites, but, on the contrary, גֵּירִים (as the parallel passage alluded to expressly says), i.e, strangers in the land of Israel; those of the Canaanites that remained when their land was conquered, and who were made servants ( Judges 1:27-30; Joshua 16:10). In contradistinction to these30,000 Israelites, they are named, in 1 Kings 9:21, מַם עֹבֵד, i.e, servants ( 2 Chronicles 8:7-9). The assertion of Ewald and Distel that these150,000 servants were of the “people of Israel,” and only “came later when the several buildings became enlarged,” is utterly erroneous.—The total number of these workmen is great, but not surprising when we consider those times, when there was no machinery, and everything had to be done by the human hand. According to Pliny (Hist. Nat, xxxvi12), 360,000 men had to work twenty years long at one pyramid (comp. Calmet on the place).

    1 Kings 5:16. Beside the chief, &c. Thenius: “literally the chief of the overseers, and hence the usual expression, overseer: but there are no subaltern overseers mentioned. How great, then, must the number of these have been, when the chief overseers numbered several thousands? The הנצבים לשׁלמה as a description of the substantive (Vatablus: principes, qui prœfecti erant) is properly connected therewith by the Stat. construct. (comp. Ewald, § 287 b); Song of Solomon, the chiefs not reckoned, those who were appointed by (or for) Song of Solomon, and who oversaw the works.”—Chron. gives, instead of the number3,300 ( 1 Kings 2:17), 3,600, which Thenius thinks the right one, and he would have the text altered accordingly; but Ewald, on the other hand, declares our number to be correct, and that of Chron. wrong. But both numbers are right, as J. H. Michaelis has proved; the difference comes from the different division of the offices of superintendence. In 1 Kings 9:23, 550 שָׂרֵי הַנִּצָּבִים are named; these, with the3,300, make3,850. The parallel passage of Chron. ( 1 Kings 8:10) mentions only250, which, added to the3,600, gives the same number, 3,850. This coincidence cannot be chance; the number550 evidently contains the250, and the300, by which the3,600 exceed the3,300: 250 of the whole number of overseers were, as appears from the context in 2 Chronicles 8:10, native Israelites; but300 were foreigners. The chronicler, however, no doubt includes the latter among the subaltern overseers (3,300+300 = 3,600), because they were not on the same footing with the Israelitish overseers.

    1 Kings 5:17-18. And the king commanded. The great stones should be יְקָרוֹת, not “weighty” (Thenius), for that Isaiah, of course, understood, nor “precious” (Keil), for why should the value of these stones be especially insisted on? but glorious, splendid, fine stones ( Psalm 36:8; Psalm 45:9; Esther 1:4). It is plainly said here, as in 2 Chronicles 3:3, that these stones were for the foundation of the building, and not, therefore, for the “consolidation of the Temple structure” (Thenius). Of the latter kind, which Josephus (Arch, 15, 11, 3) so minutely describes, the Bible-text makes no mention. The אַבְנֵי גָזִית are nothing else than the splendid great stones, which were shaped after being hewn out of the quarry. Vulgate: ut tollerent lapides grandes, lapides pretiosos, in fundamentum templi et quadrarent eos.—The Giblites, 1 Kings 5:18, are the inhabitants of גְּבַל ( Joshua 13:5), a Phœnician town near that part of Lebanon, where the largest cedars were found; i.e, the Byblos of the Greeks. [The Engl. Ver. has simply for this word, “stone-squarers.”—E. H.] It appears, from Ezekiel 27:9, that the Giblites were remarkable for their technical skill in ship-building especially. Thenius reads וַיַּגְבִּלוּם, and translates: “they wreathed the stones—put a border round them.” Robinson stated (Palest.) that he had found stones carved in that manner. Böttcher rightly names these conjectures “ill-founded.” Comp. what Keil, on the passage, says against them.

    Historical and Ethical

    1. Solomon’s undertaking to build a “house” to the name of Jehovah was not an arbitrary, self-devised Acts, nor was it prompted solely through the wish and will of his father David, but rested upon a divine decision ( 1 Kings 5:5), and, as already shown in the Introduction, § 3, has its inward, necessary reason in the development of the Old Testament theocracy. The assertion that “the thought to build a magnificent temple to Jehovah in Jerusalem proceeded from the sight of the temple-service of the Phœnicians and Philistines, and of their ostentatious cultus” (Duncker, Gesch. des Alt., i. s. 397), is entirely without foundation and contradicts all historical records. When Stephen, in his discourse before the Sanhedrin, says: “Solomon built him an house. But the Most High dwelleth not in temples made with hands,” &c. ( Acts 7:47), he does not mean in any way to blame Solomon’s undertaking, or to say, as Lechler supposes (in his Bibelwerk on the place), the tabernacle was set up at God’s will and command; but the design of building a temple and the completion of it is only a human design and a human performance. For that the Most High cannot be shut up within a house, Solomon himself expressly declared at the consecration of the Temple ( 1 Kings 8:27). Stephen was opposing rather, from the stand-point of the New Testament, the stiff-necked, Jewish authorities, who, when the promised Messiah appeared, and the New Covenant was introduced along with Him, rejected the same, and clung with tenacious unbelief to the outward sign of the Old Covenant, to the Temple as the permanent central-point of all divine revelation. The accusation, he would say, that this Jesus of Nazareth would destroy this holy place, was in so far correct, as that He certainly had taken away the Old Covenant, and with it had abolished its sign and pledge ( John 2:19). For the day of the New Covenant, the temple at Jerusalem has lost all significance. For the dwelling of God in the midst of His people conditioned through natural descent, has become transferred into a dwelling in the midst of the people who are believers in Christ, to whom the apostle appeals: Ye are the temple of the living God, in you is fulfilled, in truth, the word spoken once by God unto Israel: I will dwell in them, and walk in them, and will be their God, and they shall be my people ( 2 Corinthians 6:16; Ephesians 2:21; 1 Peter 2:4-5). To cling now to the Old Testament temple built by human hands, and to reject the living temple of the living God, Stephen pronounces as a striving against the Holy Ghost ( Acts 7:51).

    2. It is one of those significant divine providenoes in which the history of Israel is so rich, that as in the development of the “sacred history” the time had come for “the house of the Lord” (or for for Jehovah), in the land which alone possessed those means and agencies for the execution of the undertaking in which Israel was wanting, a king ruled who entertained a friendly sentiment towards David and Song of Solomon, and was prepared gladly for every assistance, so that even heathen nations, whether friendly or conquered, took part in the building of the house for the God of Israel, and so contributed indirectly to the glorifying of God. It was a setting forth in act of the word: “The earth is the Lord’s, and all that therein is” ( Psalm 24:1); “For the kingdom is the Lord’s, and He is governor among the nations” ( Psalm 22:28); and “all the heathen shall serve Him” ( Psalm 72:11). And as Solomon’s kingdom, as the most complete outward kingdom of peace, is frequently, with the prophets, a type of the Messiah’s kingdom (see above, Historical and Ethical on chap4), so do they behold, in the participation by the heathen in the building of the temple, a type and prophecy that the Messiah “shall build the temple of the Lord … and that they who are far off shall come and build in the temple of the Lord,” &c. ( Zechariah 6:12-15).

    3. “In the very time of their highest earthly splendor the people of God, in respect of worldly art, pursuit, and skill, were inferior to the neighboring Phœnicians” (Gerlach). Solomon had no one amongst his people who could execute a work of art such as the temple was to be ( 1 Kings 5:6). As to individual men ( 1 Corinthians 7:7), so also to nations, God has distributed divers gifts, powers, and destiny. It was not the office of Israel to exercise the arts, but to be the bearer of divine Revelation, and to communicate the knowledge of the One living and all-holy God to all nations. To this end God has chosen this people out of all peoples; and their entire mode of life and occupation, yea, their whole development and history, are closely connected with it. To the achievement of this its destiny must even other nations serve, with the especial gifts and powers conferred upon them. High as the Phœnicians stood above Israel at that time in technical and artistic accomplishments (cf. Duncker, a. a. O, s. 317–320), so nevertheless did Israel, notwithstanding all its sins and errors, excel the Phœnicians in the knowledge of the truth. Distinguished as Phœnicia was for its art and commerce, its religion was the most depraved, and its worship most crude (Duncker, s. 155 sq.).

    4. The genius of the Jewish people never achieved anything eminent in plastic art. Skill in architecture, and in sculpture, and in painting, seems to have been denied them. Their religion forbade it, and the hereditary feeling of the race was one of aversion to all arts of the “graver,” to images and forms cut in stones or upon stone, and so in their want of appreciation of beauty of form they were unable to conceive of grand structures; and when Solomon’s great buildings were undertaken, the skilled workmen and the artists connected with the work were foreigners. Dr. Prideaux quotes Josephus to this effect (Antiq, Bk18. c7): “When Vitellius governor of Syria was going to pass through Judæa with a Roman army to make war against the Arabians, the chief of the Jews met him, and earnestly entreated him to lead his army another way; for they could not bear the sight of those images which were in the ensigns under which they marched, they were so abominated by them. The ensigns therefore, for the sake of those images in them, were abominations to the Jews; and by reason of the desolations which were wrought under them by the Roman armies in conquered countries, they were called desolating abominations, or abominations of desolation, and they were never more so than when under them the Roman armies besieged and destroyed Jerusalem.” Poetic feeling, the power of Song of Solomon, belonged to the race; and these, under God, have impressed themselves upon the heart of the nations, so that to this day the “songs of Zion” are sung in temples which the Jewish people never could have built.—E. H.]

    Homiletical and Practical

    1 Kings 5:1-5. Solomon’s purpose to build a house to the Lord. (1) The motive. 1 Kings 5:3-5. Not ambition, the love of glory, the love of pomp, but the divine will, and the charge of his father. In every weighty undertaking one must examine and be assured that it do not proceed from selfish motives, but is the good, acceptable, and perfect will of God ( Romans 12:2). (2) The time, rest and peace ( 1 Kings 5:4). A time of peace is the time for building in general, but especially for building houses of God, which are a memorial of thanksgiving for the blessings of peace and prosperity. (3) The request for assistance, 1 Kings 5:6. In important undertakings which are agreeable to the will of God, and propose His honor, we may and should not hesitate to trust in Him who directs men’s hearts, like the water-brooks, to ask others for aid and assistance.

    1 Kings 5:1-2. True friends whom parents have gained, are an invaluable legacy for the children, for whom the latter cannot be sufficiently thankful ( Ecclesiastes 30:4). To a God-fearing man like David, if he have many enemies, yet there will never be wanting those who love him his life long, and who prize and honor him after his death, even in his children.

    1 Kings 5:3. With every son it should be his earnest business, and likewise pleasure, to fulfil the will of his father, and to complete the good work which he had begun, but could not carry out.

    1 Kings 5:4. When God has granted rest and peace, health and happiness, prosperity and blessing, an opportunity is thus at hand to do something for His great name.

    1 Kings 5:5. If it cannot come into the mind of every one to build a house of wood and stone unto the Lord, nevertheless, every one to whom God has given wife and children is in condition to vow and to build a house unto the Lord out of living stones. I and my house will serve the Lord ( Joshua 24:15).

    1 Kings 5:5. Starke: One man needs another; on this account one should always serve and be amiable towards another, ministering to his good ( 1 Peter 4:10).—The superfluity of one must minister to the need of the others, in order that hereafter, also, the superfluity of the latter may serve for the wants of the former ( 2 Corinthians 8:14).—Israel knew not how to plan great buildings, especially works of art, but they did know how to serve the living God. Better to live without art than without God in the world.

    1 Kings 5:21–25. The heathen king Hiram: (1) His rejoicing over Solomon and his undertaking; (2) his praise of the God of Israel; (3) his willingness to help. How far stands this heathen above so many who call themselves Christians!

    1 Kings 5:6. Würt. Summ.: When we see that it goes well with our neighbor, we should not envy him such prosperity, but rather rejoice with him and wish him good-luck. Since Hiram, although a heathen king, has done this, how much more does it befit Christians to act thus towards each other? It proves a noble heart when a Prayer of Manasseh, free from envy and jealousy, sincerely praises and thanks God for the gifts and blessings which He grants to others.—Starke: When God wishes well to a nation He bestows upon it godly rulers; but when He wills to chastise it he removes them. Hiram praises God that He bestows upon another people a wise monarch; how much more should that people itself thank God since He bestowed upon it a wise, viz, a pious king?

    1 Kings 5:9. How pleasing it is when the assistance of those who can help is not wrung from them, but offered in friendship, and they are ready and heart-willing to do what lies in their power ( 2 Corinthians 9:7).—Würt. Summ.: No house, even though it be the church and temple of God, should be built to the hurt and oppression of one’s fellow-creatures.

    1 Kings 5:12. The league between Solomon and Hiram: (1) Its object: a good, God-pleasing work begun in the service of God. Like kings and nations, even so individual men should unite only for such purposes. (2) The conditions of the league: each gave to the other according to his desire; neither sought to overreach the other; the compact was based upon honesty and fairness, not upon cunning and selfishness: only upon such compacts does the blessing of God rest, for unjust possessions do not prosper.

    1 Kings 5:13-18. The workmen at the temple-building: (1) Israelites. Solomon acted not like unto Pharaoh ( Exodus 2:23), he laid no insupportable burdens upon his people, but permits variety in the work, and Israel itself undertakes it without murmurs or complaints. How high do these Israelites stand above so many Christian communities, who constantly object or murmur when they are about to undertake any labor for their temple, or must needs bring a sacrifice of money or time. (2) Heathen ( Psalm 22:29; vide Historical and Ethical). Jew and heathen together must build the temple of God, according to divine decree—a prophetic anticipation of fact as set forth Ephesians 2:14; Ephesians 2:19-22; Ephesians 3:4-6.—Seiler: The great preparations of Solomon must naturally remind us of the far greater preparations and arrangements which God has made for the building of the spiritual temple of the New Testament. How many thousand faithful laborers, how many wise and good men, has he placed in every known part of the world; how has he furnished them with wisdom and many other gifts of the Spirit, so that the great work of the glorious building may be completed! … O God! do thou still prosper thy work! Help the faithful workers in thy Church, that they may enlighten many men to thy glorification, &c.—Richter: Well for us if we serve the true Solomon in the preparations for His eternal temple. But still better is it if we are ourselves prepared as living stones to shine forever in the living temple ( 1 Peter 2:4-5).

    Footnotes:

    FN#1 - 1 Kings 5:1.—[The Vat. Sept, by omitting the first part of this clause, makes an extraordinary statement: καὶ ἀπέστειλε Χιρὰμ βασιλεὺς Τύρου τοὺς παῖδας αὐτοῦ χρῖσαι τὸν Σαλωμὼν ἀντὶ Δαυίδ κ. τ. λ.

    FN#2 - 1 Kings 5:3.—[The A. V. has here exactly preserved the incongruity of the Heb. of an abstract noun מִלְחָמָה, war, followed by the personal pronoun אֹתָם. The Chald. avoids the difficulty by reading מִן קֳדָם עָבְדֵי קְרָבָא = those making war. It has been suggested that the Heb. might have read originally עֹשֵׂי הַמִּלְחָמָה.

    FN#3 - 1 Kings 5:3.—The k’tib רגלו is here decidedly to be preferred to the k’ri רגלי.—Bähr. [It is also the reading of many MSS, editions, and VV.

    FN#4 - 1 Kings 5:5.—[אָמַר אֹמֵר לִבְנוֹת, followed by the infinitive, expresses purpose. Cf. Exodus 2:14; 2 Samuel 21:16.

    FN#5 - 1 Kings 5:7.—[The Sept. here read Θεός, not Κύριος. Cf. the parallel place 2 Chronicles 2:11, יְהוָֹה אֱלֹהֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל.]

    FN#6 - 1 Kings 5:11.—[The Sept. enormously multiply this by writing καὶ εἴκοσι χιλιάδας βαὶθ ἐλαίου, so also the Heb. in the parallel place, 2 Chronicles 2:9. The Syr. and Arab. still ten times more, by making it twenty thousand cor.

    FN#7 - 1 Kings 5:16.—[cf. 2 Chronicles 2:17, שֵׁשׁ מֶאוֹת.

    FN#8 - 1 Kings 5:17.—[The Vat. Sept. omits 1 Kings 5:17 and the first half of18. Both recensions of the Sept. add to 1 Kings 5:18, τρέα ἔτη.— F.G.]

    FN#9 - The cor (כֹּר, κορος) equals the homer, and the homer was ten time the bath20,000 cors = 200,000 baths. This, at a rough calculation, amounts to260,000 bushels = between85,90,000 barrels. In liquids, again, 20 cors = 200 baths. This would amount to about1,666 or1,670 gallons of oil. The computation must be in the rough for obvious reasons, as may be seen by reference to Smith’s Dictionary, Amer. edition, N. Y, 1870, vol. iv, article Weights and Measures. The reader can find some strange etymologies in the animadversions of Petavius upon Epiphanius’ tractate on Weights and Measures. Epiph, Opera, edit. G. Dindorf. Leipsic, 1863, vol. iv. p95.—E. H.

    Copyright Statement
    These files are a derivative of an electronic edition available at BibleSupport.com. Public Domain.
    Bibliographical Information
    Lange, Johann Peter. "Commentary on 1 Kings 5:6". "Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Critical, Doctrinal, and Homiletical". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/lcc/1-kings-5.html. 1857-84.

    L. M. Grant's Commentary on the Bible

    PREPARATIONS FOR THE TEMPLE

    (vs.1-18)

    God had told David that Solomon would build a house for Him (2 Samuel 7:12-13), and David therefore prepared many materials for this. We read now of Solomon making further preparations for this. Hiram king of Tyre, who had been friendly with David, sent his servants to express the same friendliness to Solomon (v.1). Solomon was encouraged by this to send word to Hiram, reminding him that David was not permitted by God to build a house for the name of the Lord because of his being constantly embroiled in warfare (vs.2-3). However, the Lord now had given Solomon rest, so that his kingdom was at peace (v.4).

    Therefore, he told Hiram it was his purpose to build a house for the name of the Lord God, in accordance with God's word that David's son should do this work (v.5). He requested of Hiram that he should give orders to his men to cut down cedars in Lebanon to provide timber for building. Solomon would send servants to unite with Hiram's servants in this work, and Solomon would pay the wages of all of these according to the decision of Hiram. He reminded Hiram that it was well known that the Sidonians (who were connected with Tyre) were skillful lumbermen, and Solomon was fully willing to pay wages such as skillful workmen deserved.

    There were no snags whatever in this arrangement. All was done in thorough concord. Huram rejoiced greatly at the message of Solomon, showing no envy, but joy in the Lord's having given a wise king to rule over Israel (v.7). He responded favorably to Solomon's request, willing to provide cedar and cypress logs for him. Hiram's servants would cut them down, then float them by the sea-coast in rafts (or what we may call "booms") to the port in Israel closest to Jerusalem, where the logs would be separated for transport by land to Jerusalem (vs.8-9). He accepted Solomon's word too that he would provide food for Hiram's household.

    This arrangement proceeded well, with cedar and cypress logs being sent by Hiram and Solomon responding with 20,000 kors of wheat and 20 kors of pressed oil every year (v.11) for seven years (ch.6:37-38).

    This friendliness between Solomon and Hiram pictures the peace established between Israel and the Gentile nations in the millennium. Gentiles will come to Israel's light and the wealth of the Gentiles will come to Israel (Isaiah 60:3-5). God knew how to dispose Hiram favorably toward Solomon, and He knows how to change the hearts of other Gentiles from enmity to friendliness toward Israel, as He will in the latter days. Solomon and Hiram made a treaty together. The labor force that Solomon raised from Israel to send to Lebanon was large indeed, involving 30,000 men. The men labored only for one month out of three, for 10,000 went each month and returned for two months. This was wise consideration for the laborers (vs.13-14).

    For the building of the temple, Solomon designated 70,000 workers to carry burdens, which would include the transporting of logs from the sea coast to Jerusalem. Also 80,000 were engaged in quarrying stone in the mountains (v.15). It is understood that the caverns from which the stone was quarried are still in existence in the vicinity of Jerusalem.

    There is good spiritual instruction for us in all this organization. God knows how to organize His work today without man's organization involved. The workers in the mountains of Lebanon, using axes to cut down trees, speak of evangelists sent by God to cut down the pride of men and thus save them from their sins, so that they might be fit for use in His house. The logs being then committed to the water picture the exercise of faith that is necessary for every convert. The logs may seem heavy enough to sink, but they do not: they float.

    The burden bearers had the important work of carrying the logs up to Jerusalem, symbolizing the work of believers who care for the need of new converts, that they might be brought to realize their place in the house of God.

    Those who quarried stone had hard underground work in gradually shaping stones that were then built into the temple with no tools being necessary, and no noise (ch.6:7). Typically this is the work of bringing souls from the darkness of their sins, dealing with them to shape their character so as to be fitted in perfectly with the rest of believers as a holy temple in the Lord. This is God's workmanship, but He uses believers to carry out His work.

    There were also 3,300 supervisors of the work, which reminds us that God has provided in the Church today, elder men of experience and dependability to help and encourage His saints in the work God appoints.

    Large, costly, hewn stones are specially mentioned in verse 17, used in laying the foundation of the building. These do not speak of Christ Himself, for He is the Rock, the bedrock as the foundation of the Church of God (Matthew 16:18; 1 Corinthians 3:11). He was not "hewn," for He is perfect as He is. The hewn stones therefore picture the work of apostles and prophets at the beginning of the Church's history, as Paul says, believers "have been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets" (Ephesians 2:20). God did a special work with these, as Paul's conversion and after-life illustrate. The hewing speaks of His cutting off what was extraneous to make them fit for the use God had for them. They were "costly," for they were redeemed by the precious blood of Christ (1 Peter 1:18-19). They were "large," for they were given a place of prime importance in the building of the Church.

    As well as Solomon's and Hiram's builders, verse 18 speaks of the Gebalites quarrying stones. There were Gebalites in connection with Edom, Ammon and Moab (Psalms 83:6-7), but the Gebalites (or Giblites) in our chapter are more likely those spoken of in Joshua 13:4-5, closer to the Sidonians and to Lebanon.

    Copyright Statement
    These files are public domain.
    Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
    Bibliographical Information
    Grant, L. M. "Commentary on 1 Kings 5:6". L.M. Grant's Commentary on the Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/lmg/1-kings-5.html. 1897-1910.

    Alexander MacLaren's Expositions of Holy Scripture

    1 Kings

    GREAT PREPARATIONS FOR A GREAT WORK

    1 Kings 5:1 - 1 Kings 5:12.

    The building of the Temple was begun in the fourth year of Solomon’s reign [1 Kings 6:1]. The preparations for so great a work must have taken much time, so that the arrangement with Hiram recorded in this passage was probably made very early in the reign. That probability is strengthened if we suppose, as we must do, that the embassy from Hiram mentioned in 1 Kings 5:1 was sent to congratulate Solomon on his accession. If so, the latter’s proposal to get timber and stones from the Lebanon would be made at the very commencement of the reign. Three years would not be more than enough to get the material ready and transported. Great designs need long preparation. Raw haste wastes time; deliberation is as needful before beginning as rapid action is when we have begun.

    I., 1 Kings 5:3 - 1 Kings 5:5 set forth very forcibly the motives which impelled the young king to the work, and may suggest to us the motives which should urge us to diligence in building a better temple than he reared. He begins by reference to his father’s foiled wish, and to the reason why David could not build the house. Not only was it inappropriate that a warlike king should build it, but it was impossible that, whilst his thoughts were occupied and his resources taxed by war, he should devote himself to such a work. In Assyria and Egypt the great warrior kings are the great temple-builders, but a divine decorum forbade it to be so in Israel.

    Solomon next thankfully describes his own happier circumstances. Observe his designation of Jehovah in1 Kings 5:4 as ‘my God,’ and compare with 1 Kings 5:3, where He is called David’s God. The son had inherited the divine protection and the father’s sense of personal relation to Jehovah. That is a better legacy than a throne. Well had it been for Solomon if he had held by the faith of his first days of royalty! Such a sense of a personal bond of love protecting on the one hand, and love trusting and obeying on the other, is the spring of all true service of God, whether it is busied in temple-building or in anything else.

    We note also the grateful recognition of benefits received, and the tracing of peace and outward prosperity to God’s care. There was not a cloud in the sky. The horizon was clear all round, and it was ‘the Lord my God,’ who had made this ease for Solomon. We are often more ready to recognise God’s hand in sorrows than in joys. When He smites, we try to say ‘It is the Lord!’ Do we try to say it when all things are smooth and bright?

    The effect of blessings should be thankfulness, and the proof of thankfulness is service. So Solomon did not take prosperity as an inducement to selfish luxurious repose, but heard in it God’s call to a great task. If all the rich men and all the leisurely women who call themselves Christians would do likewise, there would be plenty of workers and of resources for Christ’s service, which now sorely lacks both. How many of such ‘lay up treasure for themselves, and are not rich toward God’! How many fritter away their leisure in vanities, having time for any amusement or folly, but none for Christian service!

    The man whom Jesus called ‘Thou fool!’ not the wise king, is the pattern for a sad number of professing Christians. ‘Thou hast much goods laid up for many years.’ What then? ‘I purpose to build an house for the name of the Lord’? By no means. ‘I will build greater barns, and that will give me something to do, and then I will take mine ease.’

    We note, too, that Solomon was impelled to his great work by the knowledge that God had appointed him to do it. The divine word concerning himself, spoken to his father, sounded in his ears, and gave him no rest till he had set about obeying it [1 Kings 5:5]. The motives of the great temple-builders of old, as they themselves expound them in hieroglyphics and cuneiform, were largely ostentation and the wish to outdo predecessors; but Solomon was moved by thankfulness and by obedience to his father’s will, and still more, to God’s destination of him. If we would look at our positions and blessings as he looked at his in the fair dawning of his reign, we should find abundant indications of God’s will regarding our work.

    Solomon uses a remarkable expression as to the purpose of the Temple. It is to be ‘an house for the name of the Lord.’ That is not the same as ‘for the Lord.’ Pagan temples might be intended by their builders for the actual residence of the god, but Solomon knew that the heaven of heavens could not contain Him, much less this house which he was about to build. We are fairly entitled, then, to lay stress on that phrase, ‘the Name.’ It means the whole self-revelation of God, or, rather, the character of God as made known by that self-revelation.

    The Temple was, then, to be the place in which the God who fills earth and heaven was to manifest Himself, and where His servants were to behold and reverence Him as manifested. The Shechinah was the symbol, and in one aspect was a part, of that self-revelation. However, in common speech the Temple was spoken of as the house of Jehovah. The same thought which is expressed in Solomon’s fuller phrase underlay the expression,-He dwelt ‘not in temples made with hands’ but His name was set there, and the structure was reared, not so much for Him as that worshippers might there meet Him.

    II. The rest of the passage deals with Solomon’s request to Hiram, and the preparation of the material for the Temple. Solomon’s first care was to secure timber and stone. His own dominions can never have been well wooded, and there are many indications that the great central knot of mountainous land, which included the greater part of his kingdom, was comparatively treeless. He therefore proposed to Hiram to supply timber from the great woods on Lebanon, which have now nearly died out, and offered liberal payment.

    The parallel account in 2 Chronicles makes Solomon offer specified quantities of provisions for Hiram’s workmen, and makes Hiram accept the terms. 1 Kings 5:11 of this chapter says that the provisions named there were for the Tyrian king’s ‘household.’ This may possibly mean the workmen, who would be regarded as Hiram’s slaves, but, more probably, ‘household’ means ‘court,’ and Solomon had not only to feed the army of workmen, but to supply as much again for the great establishment which Hiram kept up. The little slip of seacoast, with the mountain rising sharply behind, which made Hiram’s kingdom, could not grow enough for his people’s wants. His country was ‘nourished’ by Palestine, long centuries after this time [Acts 12:20], and the same was the case in Solomon’s period. In 1 Kings 5:11, the quantity of oil is impossibly small as compared with that of wheat. 2 Chronicles reads ‘twenty thousand’ instead of ‘twenty,’ and the Septuagint inserts ‘thousand’ in 1 Kings 5:11, which is probably correct.

    With all his Oriental politeness and probably real wish to oblige a powerful neighbour, Hiram was too true a Phoenician not to drive a good bargain. He was king of ‘a nation of shopkeepers,’ and was quite worthy of the position. ‘Nothing for nothing’ seems to have been his motto, even with friends. He would love Solomon, and send him flowery congratulations, and talk as if all he had was his ally’s, but when it came to settling terms he knew what his cedars were worth, and meant to have their value.

    There are a good many people who get mixed up with religious work, and talk as if it were very near their hearts, who have as sharp an eye to their own advantage as he had. The man who serves God because he gets paid for it, does not serve Him. The Temple may be built of the timber and stones that he has supplied, but he sold them, and did not give them, therefore he has no part in the building.

    How different the uncalculating lavishness of Solomon! He knows no better use for treasures than to expend them on God’s service, and ‘all for love, and nothing for reward.’ That Is the true temper for Christian work. He to whom Christ has given Himself should give himself to Christ; and he who has given himself should and will keep back nothing, nor seek for cheap ways of serving the Lord, He who gives all, be it two mites, or a fishing-boat and some torn nets, or great wealth like that which Solomon found in his father’s treasuries and devoted to building the Temple, gives much; and he who gives less than he can gives little.

    Solomon’s work was, after all, outward work, and fitter for that early age than the imitation of it would be now. The days for building temples and cathedrals are past. The universal religion hallows not Gerizim nor Jerusalem, but every place where souls seek God The spiritual religion asks for no shrines reared by men’s hands; for Jesus Christ is the true Temple, where God’s name is set, and where men may behold the manifested Jehovah, and meet with Him. But we have work to do for Christ, and a temple to build in our own souls, and a stone or two to lay in the great Temple which is being built up through the ages. Well for us if we use our resources and our leisure, for such ends with the same promptitude, thankful surrender, and sense of fulfilling God’s purpose, as animated the young king of Israel!

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    Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
    Bibliographical Information
    MacLaren, Alexander. "Commentary on 1 Kings 5:6". Alexander MacLaren's Expositions of Holy Scripture. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mac/1-kings-5.html.

    Matthew Henry's Complete Commentary on the Bible

    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. 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. 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), 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. 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 (Psalm 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) 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, 1 Kings 5:10. 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, 1 Kings 5:13. 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) 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): 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), and Hiram agrees to what he desired concerning that (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), 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), 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 5:6". "Matthew Henry Complete Commentary on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mhm/1-kings-5.html. 1706.

    Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary on the Bible

    Here is Solomon's design to build a temple. There is no adversary, no Satan, so the word is; no instrument of Satan to oppose it, or to divert from it. Satan does all he can, to hinder temple work. When there is no evil abroad, then let us be ready and active in that which is good, and get forward. Let God's promises quicken our endeavours. And all outward skill and advantages should be made serviceable to the interests of Christ's kingdom. It Tyre supplies 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 benefitted by another, that there may be dependence on one another, to the glory of God.

    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. "Concise Commentary on 1 Kings 5:6". "Matthew Henry Concise Commentary

    on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mhn/1-kings-5.html. 1706.

    Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

    Command thou that they, i.e. thy servants, as appears both from the foregoing words, command, &c., and from the following opposition of my servants And this assistance which these Gentiles gave to the building of Solomon’s temple was a type of the calling of the Gentiles, and that they should be very instrumental in the building and constituting of Christ’s spiritual temple, to wit, his church.

    Hew me cedar trees; which, for their soundness, and strength, and fragrancy, and durableness, were most excellent and proper for his design. Of these David had procured some, but not a sufficient number.

    Lebanon was either wholly or in part in Solomon’s jurisdiction; and therefore he doth not desire that Hiram would give him the cedars, because they were his own already; but only that his servants might hew them for him; which required art and skill in the time and manner of doing of it; all which the ingenious Tyrians well understood.

    My servants shall be with thy servants; either to be employed therein as they shall direct; or to receive the cedars, being cut down and hewed, from their hands, and to transmit them to me; although Hiram in his return eased him of that trouble.

    Unto thee will I give hire for thy servants, i.e. pay them for their labour and art.

    The Sidonians, or Tyrians; for these places and people being near, and subject to Hiram, are promiscuously used one for another.

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    These files are public domain.
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    Bibliographical Information
    Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on 1 Kings 5:6". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/1-kings-5.html. 1685.

    Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible

    Solomon Arranges With Hiram King Of Tyre For His Country’s Assistance In The Building Of The Temple (1 Kings 5:1-18).

    The next example of Solomon’s glory and splendour is found by the writer in the building of a Temple to YHWH. Such a step on ascending the throne was well known among foreign kings, as they sought to show their gratitude to their gods, and win their continuing favour by building them a splendid temple. Solomon was no different, and he sought to justify doing the same thing on the grounds of YHWH’s covenant with David (2 Samuel 7:13), although it is doubtful whether that was what YHWH originally intended (2 Samuel 7:5-7). Indeed, in spite of God’s initial lack of enthusiasm for the project, David himself had taken it at least partly in the that way (2 Samuel 8:11; 1 Chronicles 22; 1 Kings 8:51; 1 Chronicles 26:25). It was not really surprising. It was difficult for even spiritual men like David men to think solely in spiritual terms in those days (as indeed there are many in the same position today who are unable to get away from the idea of a physical temple and physical sacrifices). They felt very much bound to earth.

    But while the writer was building up a picture of Solomon’s glory, he was at the same time doing it with reservations. Underneath all the splendour he could already see the cracks appearing.

    For the house that YHWH had really wanted Solomon to build had been a spiritual house made up of his sons and descendants, not a house of wood and stone. Careful scrutiny of 2 Samuel 7 indicates that the concentration throughout is not on the building of a Temple, but on the building of a dynastic house which would result finally in the arrival of the Coming King. ‘YHWH tells you that he will make you a house (dynasty) -- your seed -- he will build a house (a dynasty) for My Name and I will establish the throne of his kingship for ever -- and your house (dynasty) and your kingship will be established for ever before you, your throne will be established for ever’ (2 Samuel 7:11; 2 Samuel 7:13; 2 Samuel 7:16, compare 1 Kings 7:26). YHWH’s emphasis was thus on the promise of the foundation of a dynasty which would finally result in the everlasting King. The truth is that in building the physical house, and being satisfied with it and putting too much emphasis on it, Solomon did in fact miss out on the need to build a spiritual house. It would only be as a result of God’s activity that that spiritual house would come to a reality in our Lord Jesus Christ. On the other hand, God did in His graciousness accept the physical house from their hands, simply because He knew that they were bringing it to Him from a right attitude of heart. He recognised and made allowance for man’s weakness. (We saw a similar situation with regard to the kingship in 1 Samuel - 1 Samuel 8-9).

    The result of Solomon’s dreams was that when Hiram the King of Tyre, whose countrymen were skilled in fine building techniques, contacted Solomon in order to congratulate him on his safe accession to the throne, it must have seemed to Solomon like a gift from Heaven (which in one sense it was), and he took advantage of Hiram’s friendly approach in order to obtain the assistance of his experts in the building of his planned Temple, pointing out that he had to build it because it had been required by YHWH.

    His major need was the right kind of timber, selected and dressed by experienced timber experts, and he called on Hiram to provide this for him in return for adequate compensation. On hearing this Hiram replied with the right noises (he stood to gain a good deal from the venture), and arranged for the timber to be cut, delivered and dressed, in response to which Solomon paid him the first instalment of the agreed payment. Meanwhile Solomon himself arranged for the cutting out of stones suitable for the Temple by using huge amounts of forced labour. Then Solomon’s builders and Hiram’s builders and the Gebalites (expert carpenters from Gebal/Byblos) got together to prepare the timber and the stones, ready for building the Temple.

    As we read the following narrative we should perhaps bear in mind the contrast between this Sanctuary, and the one that YHWH had requested, for the prophetic writer does appear to wish for us to make the comparison.

    Note On The Contrast Between The Tabernacle And The Temple.

    In 2 Samuel 7:5-7 YHWH asks David, “Shall you build Me a house for Me to dwell in? For I have not dwelt in a house since the day that I brought up the children of Israel out of Egypt even to this day, but have walked in a Tent and in a Dwellingplace (shaken - Tabernacle). In all the places in which I have walked with the children of Israel, did I speak a word with any of the tribes of Israel, whom I commanded to feed My people, saying, ‘Why have you not built me a house of cedar?’ ” And He then went on to point out rather that He would build a house for David, a house of flesh and blood which would inherit the throne. The emphasis in 1 Kings 5:11-16 is on that house (1 Kings 5:11; 1 Kings 5:13; 1 Kings 5:16). While 1 Kings 5:13 may be slightly ambiguous out of context, in the context it is quite plain. There is not the slightest indication anywhere else in Samuel that a literal Temple was in mind. The ‘house’ that Solomon was to build was to result in the establishing of the kingdom and the permanent occupation of the throne (The Temple accomplished neither).

    In view of this lack of positive reference to the building of the Temple we should perhaps compare the two in the light of what we find in Exodus and Kings.

    1). The Tabernacle Was To Be Built Of Free-will Offerings From Those Whose Hearts Were Willing. The Temple Was Built Out Of Enforced Taxation.

    A comparison between the Tabernacle and the Temple soon brings out the discrepancy between the two, and is in fact deliberately and patently brought out at one stage by the writer of Kings. Consider for example the Tabernacle. It was to be built of free-will offerings; ‘of every man whose heart makes him willing you will take my offering’ (Exodus 25:2). What a contrast with the building of the Temple where Hiram’s ‘gifts’ turned out to be very expensive indeed (1 Kings 5:10-12), helping to cripple the economy of Israel, and none of the people had any choice in the matter. And there was very little of free-will offering in the levies that Solomon raised out of Israel for the purpose (1 Kings 5:13-18). Indeed we learn very clearly about the ‘goodwill’ involved in 1 Kings 12:4; 1 Kings 12:14. As the author makes clear they lay at the root of the division that occurred between Israel and Judah.

    2). The Tabernacle Was Built At YHWH’s Specific Request According To His Pattern. The Temple Was Specifically Never Requested.

    Then YHWH adds, ‘And let them make me a Sanctuary that I may dwell among them. According to all that I show you, the pattern of the Dwellingplace (Tabernacle), and the pattern of all its furniture, even so shall you make it’ (Exodus 25:8-9). So it was to be made of freewill offerings, gladly given, and was to be made according to YHWH’s pattern, and we have already noted that it was said to be in total contrast to David’s idea for a Temple (see above). Here in Exodus YHWH had asked them to make Him a Sanctuary. In 2 Samuel 7:5-7 YHWH specifically says that He has NOT asked for a Temple, while in 1 Kings 5:5 it is Solomon who says, ‘I purpose to build a house for the Name of YHWH my God’, (with the emphasis on the ‘I’), relying on a misinterpretation of 2 Samuel 7:13.

    Furthermore it will be noted that far from being built on a pattern determined by YHWH, the furniture of the new Temple was very much seen to be a combination of the ideas of Solomon (1 Kings 6:14-36; 1 Kings 7:47-51) and Hiram The Metal-worker (1 Kings 7:13-46) as the author specifically brings out.

    3). The Tabernacle Was Built Under The Jurisdiction Of A Trueborn Israelite Who Was Filled With The Spirit Of God, And By Willing, Responsive, Workers, The Temple Was Built Under The Jurisdiction Of A Half-Pagan With No Mention Of The Spirit Of God, And By Enforced Levies.

    Having commanded the building of His Sanctuary YHWH later then called to Moses again and said, ‘See, I have called by name Bezalel the son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah, and I have filled him with the Spirit of God, in wisdom, and in understanding, and in knowledge, and in all manner of workmanship’ (Exodus 31:2; compare Exodus 35:31). And Moses then called men in order to give instructions as to how the work was to proceed, ‘and Moses called Bezalel and Oholiab and every wise-hearted man, in whose heart YHWH had put wisdom, even everyone whose heart stirred him up to come to the work to do it’ (Exodus 36:2). Note how voluntary it all was.

    In contrast the account in 1 Kings 7:13-14 commences with Solomon sending for a man named Hiram (not the king) whom he fetches out of Tyre. And here there appears to be a deliberate attempt in the description of him to bring to mind Bezalel, the skilled worker who made the Tabernacle furnishings and embellishments (Exodus 35:30-33), for Hiram is described as being ‘filled with wisdom (chokmah), and understanding (tabuwn), and skill (da’ath) to work all works in bronze’. With this we can compare the description of Bezalel, ‘He has filled him with the Spirit of God, in wisdom (chokmah), and in understanding (tabuwn), and in knowledge (da’ath), and in all manner of workmanship --.’

    But it is the differences that are significant:

    o Bezalel was called by YHWH from among His people Israel, from the very heart of the camp, Hiram was sent for by Solomon out of pagan Tyre, being only half Israelite.

    o Bezalel was ‘filled with the Spirit of God’ in wisdom, understanding and knowledge, Hiram was simply filled with wisdom, understanding and knowledge (mention of the Holy Spirit is consciously dropped).

    It will be noted indeed that the author of Kings makes no attempt to pretend that Hiram was filled with the Spirit of God.

    4). The Tabernacle Was Built Of Freely-given Cloth And Jewels Which Displayed All Their Pristine Glory, The Temple Was Built Of Blood-stained And Sweat-stained Stones, Which Were Then Covered Over With Timber And Gold, Bought With Taxation or Resulting From Tribute And Trade.

    Especially in view of the facts in 3). we find it very difficult to avoid in all this the suggestion that these contrasts were all in the mind of the author of Kings. He wanted us to see the distinction. They would appear to reveal that as a prophet he was not so entranced by the Temple as many of his compatriots appear to have been, seeing rather within it the seeds of its own destruction. Nowhere does he suggest that it was their attitude towards the Temple itself which lay at the root of the failure of the kings of Israel and Judah. His theme with regard to both was rather their attitude towards the setting up of false high places in contrast with the true. In view of the fact that Elijah set up genuine high places which the author clearly saw as acceptable, we cannot argue that his generally expressed attitude towards ‘high places’ necessarily reflected on their attitude towards the Temple. It reflected on their deviation from the truth. And in so far as it did reflect on the Temple it was not because of the Temple per se, but because of its position as the Central Sanctuary.

    By the author’s day, of course, an open attack on the Temple would not have been wise (as Jeremiah discovered), but what he was certainly doing was laying seeds of doubt as to how much its building had really been of God. The only Temple which YHWH is in fact specifically said to have required was the Second Temple, outwardly a far inferior version to Solomon’s, but built with willing hands and hearts (Haggai 1:2; Haggai 1:14; compare how the author of Kings would appear to approve of this approach - 2 Kings 22:4).

    End of Note.

    Analysis.

    a And Hiram king of Tyre sent his servants to 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 (1 Kings 5:1).

    b And Solomon sent to Hiram, saying, “You know how it was that David my father could not build a house for the name of YHWH his God because of the wars which were about him on every side, until YHWH put them under the soles of his feet. But now YHWH my God has given me rest on every side. There is neither adversary, nor evil occurrence” (1 Kings 5:2-4).

    c “And, behold, I purpose to build a house for the name of YHWH my God, as YHWH spoke to David my father, saying, ‘Your son, whom I will set on your throne in your room, he will build the house for my name’.” (1 Kings 5:5).

    d “Now therefore do you command that they cut me cedar-trees out of Lebanon, and my servants will be with your servants, and I will give you hire for your servants in accordance with all that you shall say, for you know that there is not among us any who knows how to cut timber like the Sidonians” (1 Kings 5:6).

    e “And it came about that, when Hiram heard the words of Solomon, he rejoiced greatly, and said, “Blessed be YHWH this day, who has given to David a wise son over this great people” (1 Kings 5:7).

    f And Hiram sent to Solomon, saying, “I have heard the message which you have sent to me. I will do all your desire concerning timber of cedar, and concerning timber of fir” (1 Kings 5:8).

    g “My servants will bring them down from Lebanon to the sea, and I will make them into rafts to go by sea to the place that you shall appoint me, and will cause them to be broken up there, and you will receive them, and you will accomplish my desire, in giving food for my household” (1 Kings 5:9).

    f So Hiram gave Solomon timber of cedar and timber of fir according to all his desire. And Solomon gave Hiram twenty thousand measures of wheat for food for his household, and twenty measures of pure oil. Thus did Solomon give to Hiram year by year (1 Kings 5:10-11).

    e And YHWH gave Solomon wisdom, as he promised him, and there was peace between Hiram and Solomon, and they two made a league together (1 Kings 5:12).

    d And king Solomon raised a levy out of all Israel, and the levy was thirty thousand men, and he sent them to Lebanon, ten thousand a month by courses; a month they were in Lebanon, and two months at home; and Adoniram was over the men subject to task-work (1 Kings 5:13-14).

    c And Solomon had threescore and ten thousand who bore burdens, and fourscore thousand who were hewers in the mountains, besides Solomon’s chief officers who were over the work, three thousand and three hundred, who bore rule over the people who wrought in the work (1 Kings 5:15-16).

    b And the king commanded, and they hewed out great stones, costly stones, to lay the foundation of the house with wrought stone (1 Kings 5:17).

    a And Solomon’s builders and Hiram’s builders and the Gebalites fashioned them, and prepared the timber and the stones to build the house (1 Kings 5:18).

    Note that in ‘a’ Hiram sent his servants to Solomon on hearing of his anointing as king, and in the parallel their builders got together to prepare to build the Temple for YHWH. In ‘b’ Solomon declared that all hindrance to the building of the Temple had been removed, and in the parallel the stonework for the task was prepared. In ‘c’ Solomon declared that his purpose was to build a house for YHWH’s Name, and in the parallel those who would do the work were described. In ‘d’ Solomon calls on Hiram to set his carpenters to the work, and in the parallel sent over his own levies to give assistance. In ‘e’ Hiram blessed YHWH for the wisdom that He had given to Solomon so that he could rule his people, and in the parallel the giving and consequences of that wisdom were described. In ‘f’ Hiram confirmed that his workmen would prepare the timber as requested, and in the parallel Hiram gave the timber to Solomon. Centrally in ‘g’ the means of getting the timber to Solomon was described, along with the request for payment.

    1 Kings 5:1

    And Hiram king of Tyre sent his servants to 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.’

    On hearing that Solomon had been anointed king of all Israel, and of the empire beyond, Hiram, king of Tyre, hastened to send his servants to Solomon in order to offer him his congratulations, a normal courtesy extended by friendly kings on the accession of another. And the writer tells us that it was because of his love and respect for David. But it was unquestionably also very expedient. Solomon was now the king of the strongest country around, with the possible, but marginal, exception of Egypt, and had control of the main trade routes which fed Tyre’s maritime trade. Israel was also an important source of grain and olive oil. There was therefore within his gesture a determined attempt to maintain the treaty between the two countries to the advantage of both.

    The name Hiram is possibly a shortening of Ahiram (‘my brother is exalted’ or ‘my brother is Ram’), which was a good Phoenician name and is attested for a king of Byblos in about 1200 BC. It was also the name of the royal architect who will appear later.

    Tyre was at this time mainly an island city, built on an island a short distance off shore, but with some of its environs established on the mainland. The island city itself was almost impregnable (until Alexander the Great came along later).

    1 Kings 5:2-3

    And Solomon sent to Hiram, saying, “You know how it was that David my father could not build a house for the name of YHWH his God because of the wars which were about him on every side, until YHWH put them under the soles of his feet.”

    Solomon was delighted to receive Hiram’s messengers and accept his good wishes, for his plans for building the Temple included the need to obtain help from Hiram. So he explained to Hiram what he was about, and what follows in 1 Kings 5:2-6 is typical of diplomatic correspondence in those days. He names the addressee, refers to previous contacts, and makes the opening moves towards an economic treaty. Hiram, who had previously helped David to build his palace (2 Samuel 5:11) no doubt already knew about the plans for the Temple because it had originally been David’s intention to build it (2 Samuel 7:2), and even had we not read about it in 1 Chronicles 22, we would have suspected that David had begun making preparations for it (see 1 Kings 8:51; 1 Chronicles 26:25). For while YHWH had not been enthusiastic about his suggestion, and had firmly countered it, it is clear that David had failed to allow YHWH’s words (2 Samuel 7:5-7) to sink deeply enough into his mind for them to replace his own fixed idea. His view was that every nation around had built a splendid temple or more to their gods. Why then should Israel be the exception? And because his heart was filled with love for YHWH he wanted it to be the very best. Yet even he, the Psalmist of Israel, was not spiritual enough to recognise that no earthly Temple could be remotely acceptable to, or suitable for, the God of Sinai. As we have seen, a careful exegesis of the covenant in 2 Samuel 7:8-16 makes clear that the ‘house’ mentioned in 1 Kings 5:13 was not a physical house (the passage as a whole only has in mind a ‘house’ that signifies descendants - 1 Kings 5:11; 1 Kings 5:16) but was paralleled with the idea of the everlasting throne. 1 Kings 5:16 can thus be seen as explaining the fulfilment of 1 Kings 5:13. God would give David a house (1 Kings 5:11), and his seed would build it to the glory of YHWH (1 Kings 5:13), and it would be everlasting (1 Kings 5:16).

    However, both David and Solomon wrongly interpreted YHWH’s words in a physical fashion, and in His graciousness YHWH went along with them because He could see that they desired it and that it was from the right attitude of heart (just as God often goes along with us in our plans, even though they must sometimes make Him cringe). It is not difficult to understand why they failed in their understanding. The full concept that God had given them was beyond the grasp of their spiritual comprehension, even though David certainly partially grasped it (1 Kings 5:18-18), and Solomon was himself aware of the inadequacy of the Temple as a dwelling-place for YHWH (1 Kings 8:27). Such understanding would await the illumination of the great prophets.

    Solomon then explained to Hiram his view that David had been unable to build the house ‘for the Name of YHWH his God’ because of the wars that were about him on every side. But that again was something that Solomon was, at least to some extent, giving a misleading impression about (we must ever remember that Solomon’s words, while an accurate record of what he said, do not necessarily always themselves express Scriptural truth, any more than Satan’s words do elsewhere). For we have specifically been told that David himself had wanted to build the Temple himself precisely because the wars had ceased (2 Samuel 7:1; 2 Samuel 7:11). In other words his enemies had been put under his feet at that time, and thus that could not be the basic reason for his failing to build the Temple.

    It was, however, politic of Solomon to suggest that as the reason, rather than saying that it was because his father was ‘a man of blood’. And 1 Chronicles 22:9 does reveal that there was enough truth in it for it not to be totally false. In fact, however, 1 Chronicles 22:8 tells us that the main reason that David did not build the Temple was because the word of YHWH came to him saying ‘You have shed blood abundantly and have made great wars. You shall not build a house to My Name because you have shed much blood on the earth in My sight’. After which YHWH had then yielded to David’s desire for his son to build it and had gone on to permit a physical interpretation of the prophecy first given in 2 Samuel 7:13. What God was doing was making it clear that, even though shed necessarily, the wholesale shedding of human blood by human beings was contrary to all that God was.

    YHWH’s allowing of the building of the Temple would have caused no problem if only Israel (and later the Jews) had recognised that the physical Temple was but a symbol of the ‘spiritual house’ that YHWH would establish in the Coming King. How different history would have been in that case. But while they did partly grasp it in the idea of the coming of the Messiah, they had totally wrong ideas about Him, and on the whole both failed to recognise Him when He came, or to recognise that His coming signalled the demise of the Temple which had lost its significance with His coming. They had become wedded to the Temple. To them the Temple had become more important than the Messiah. Similar blindness to some extent pervades much of the church today. They too are looking for the building of a physical Temple, where non-Scriptural sacrifices of their own invention will be offered, and have failed to recognise that the physical Temple has outlived its usefulness and is no longer a valid option, and that it has been more than fully replaced by:

    1). Jesus Christ Himself (John 2:19).

    2). The spiritual Temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 3:16; 2 Corinthians 6:16-18; Ephesians 2:20-22), the Temple which is made up of the conjoined body in Christ of all true believers, the true Zion, the everlasting Sanctuary (Galatians 4:26; Hebrews 12:22), of which Revelation 11:1-12 is a part picture.

    3). The heavenly Temple, first visualised by Ezekiel as being on earth for a time, invisibly but effectively (Ezekiel 40-42), and finally being transported into Heaven where its effectiveness is revealed in Revelation.

    “For the Name of YHWH his God” probably has in mind the Ark of God for in 2 Samuel 6:2 we read of, ‘the Ark of God, whose Name is called by the Name of YHWH of Hosts Who dwells between the Cherubim’. As far as Israel were concerned where the Ark was the Name was. ‘The Name’ in essence indicates all that God is, and from a human viewpoint that was closely wrapped up with the Ark, with its revelation of the covenant God had made with them held within it and its seat of propitiation above it, indicating to them both God’s covenant requirements and His continual and everlasting mercy, while also emphasising His invisibility. Any reference here to Deuteronomy 12:5 is therefore secondary, if it existed at all.

    The idea of ‘the Name of YHWH’ comes as early as Genesis 13:4 where we read that, ‘Abram called on the Name of YHWH’ (and even earlier in Genesis 4:26). In Exodus 20:24 YHWH speaks of ‘the places where I record My Name’, closely linking His Name with His temporary sanctuaries. In Exodus 23:21 YHWH could say of the Angel of YHWH, ‘My Name is in Him’. Thus in all cases ‘the Name’ represented YHWH’s own presence. Again in Exodus 33:19 YHWH ‘pronounced the Name of YHWH’ before Moses as an indication of His revealed presence, compare Exodus 34:5. We can see therefore why the Ark of God which symbolised His presence was ‘called by the Name of YHWH’ (2 Samuel 6:2), and why building the ‘Dwellingplace of YHWH’ was considered as being in order to house His Name, because it housed the Ark, and because He had revealed His ancient glory there. The origin of the idea had therefore little to do with Deuteronomy 12 ff. It was much older. Right from the beginning men had looked to, and worshipped, the Name of YHWH at their sanctuaries, a Name which, however, was not limited to their sanctuaries but went forth as YHWH went forth. Like 2 Samuel references in Deuteronomy 12 ff rather look back to the above references (see Deuteronomy 12:5; Deuteronomy 12:11; Deuteronomy 14:23-24; Deuteronomy 16:2; Deuteronomy 16:6; Deuteronomy 16:11; Deuteronomy 26:2).

    “Put them under the soles of his feet.” The conqueror would expect the defeated enemy to prostrate themselves before him while he symbolically put the soles of his feet on their heads.

    Note On The Temple.

    The impression given in 2 Samuel 7 is that God did not want a Temple built to His Name, which is why He initially dissuaded David from doing so. It is very doubtful whether 2 Samuel 7:13 initially had in mind the building of a physical Temple for the emphasis in the whole passage is on the coming ‘house of David’ made up of his son and his descendants. But once the idea had become lodged in David’s mind he found it difficult to dismiss. To him it seemed logical that YHWH should have a Temple, and the best Temple possible. He would not see that it simply brought YHWH down to the same level as other (false) gods.

    There are then clear hints in Samuel that David had not given up on the idea. See, for example, 2 Samuel 8:11. The Chronicler thus points out that after the incident of the pestilence and the threshing floor (2 Samuel 24) David again began to prepare for the building of such a Temple at which point he was dissuaded from it by being reminded of how much blood he had shed (1 Chronicles 22:8). But he was still insisting on interpreting what God had said in His covenant as referring to a physical Temple. God then seems to have made a concession in allowing his son to build such a Temple because he wanted it so much. There is a very similar parallel between this building of a Temple, which God did not really want, and the original establishment of kingship in 1 Samuel, which God did not really want. In both cases YHWH had not wanted it, but in the end allowed it as a concession.

    The idea that then arose was that if such a Temple was to be built it should be as the foundation of the coming successful kingdom of peace, it not being seen as seemly that YHWH’s unique and holy Temple should be founded on the shedding of men’s blood. It was to be a harbinger of joy and peace not of success in war. And Solomon’s reign was being hailed as the beginning of that kingdom of peace. Sadly that kingdom of peace would only too quickly prove abortive because of Solomon’s own failings, but at least the right idea had been conveyed. If only Solomon had rather concentrated on building the right kind of house, a righteous house made up of his sons and descendants, and had given his own time and effort to training them wisely, much of what follows could have been avoided. Instead he thought that he had done enough by building a physical Temple and as a result went wildly wrong, leaving a bad example for his children.

    End of note.

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    Pett, Peter. "Commentary on 1 Kings 5:6". "Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible ". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pet/1-kings-5.html. 2013.

    Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible

    Now therefore do you command that they cut me cedar-trees out of Lebanon, and my servants will be with your servants, and I will give you hire for your servants in accordance with all that you shall say, for you know that there is not among us any who knows how to cut timber like the Sidonians.”

    Then Solomon explained what he really wanted of Hiram. He wanted him to provide the finest of timber from his forests in Lebanon, and to provide experts who would cut it and dress it, because no one knew how to do that like the Sidonians. Sidon, as opposed to Tyre, clearly had a reputation for forest carpentry. The forests would be in their area. He would meanwhile provide men from among ‘his servants’ who would work alongside them, possibly with a view to them learning some of the skills, and he would pay the hire of the Sidonians employed on the work.

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    Pett, Peter. "Commentary on 1 Kings 5:6". "Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible ". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pet/1-kings-5.html. 2013.

    Arthur Peake's Commentary on the Bible

    . 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 Phœnicians 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 Phœnician workmen (1 Kings 5:6) is confirmed by the testimony of Homer, Herodotus, and Strabo. Hiram was apparently overlord of the Phœnician coast and Zidon.

    Hiram's name is variously spelt as Hiram, Hirom, and Huram; Josephus calls him Eiromos. The name is Phœnician, 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).

    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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    Peake, Arthur. "Commentary on 1 Kings 5:6". "Arthur Peake's Commentary on the Bible ". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pfc/1-kings-5.html. 1919.

    Preacher's Complete Homiletical Commentary

    NEGOTIATIONS WITH THE TYRIAN KING

    CRITICAL AND EXPLANATORY NOTES.—

    1Ki . Hiram, king of Tyre, called Hirom (1Ki 5:7; 1Ki 5:9), Huram (2Ch 2:3), and by Josephus εἵρωμος, the same who bad sent David timbers for his palace (2Sa 5:11; 1Ch 14:1). This embassy to Solomon was a declaration that he desired to maintain equally friendly relations with David's successor Solomon took the incident as an opportunity to negociate for "cedar trees out of Lebanon" (1Ki 5:6) with which to build the temple.

    1Ki . Wars which were about him on every side—David was not prevented from erecting God's temple because wars allowed him no leisure (see 2Sa 7:1, "Lord had given him rest," &c.); he was free from military claims to do this work, but not free from military stains; his had been a career of war, and Jehovah's temple must be reared by one who should prefigure the "Prince of Peace" (cf. 1Ch 28:8). Note: Solomon assumes that Hiram knew David's intention to build the temple (cf. 1Ch 27:1-4).

    1Ki . Neither adversary nor evil occurrent— מֶּגַע רַע means an unhappy event, e.g., plague, rebellion, famine. David had such "evil occurrent" in Absalom's rebellion, and in the plague following his numbering the people.

    1Ki . Cedar trees out of Lebanon—Only from the forests of Lebanon could Solomon have procured such timber for the temple. These forests belonged to the Phœnicians, who carried on extensive trade in both cedars and cypresses. The best cedars grew on the north-west of the mountain range. The Sidonians were at this time expert shipbuilders and good navigators; it would, therefore, be an easy part of their contract to "convey by sea" their merchandize (1Ki 5:9). Robinson says the famous cedar forests lie two days' journey north of Beirut, near the highest mountain peak, distant from Jebul Sunnin six or eight hours north.

    1Ki . Hiram said, Blessed be the LORD—The Septuagint here reads θεός, not κύριος; yet this recognition of JEHOVAH might indicate in Hiram nothing more than a polytheistic acceptance of the God of Israel as one of many deities. In the parallel passage (2Ch 2:12) Hiram calls him יְהֹוָה אֱלֹהֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל Jehovah, God of Israel, and adds, "that made heaven and earth." Yet this may only imply his assent to the religious views of the Israelites.

    1Ki . Cedar and fir— גְּרוֹשׁ more probably denotes the cypress, not "fir," although the pine, larch, and cypress are all found at this day in the Lebanon; and by berosh may be intended either tree.

    1Ki . Convey them by sea in floats—lit., I will make them into floats on the sea. Thus they could be brought down the river, probably the Dog River, to the sea coast, and by sea to Joppa (2Ch 2:16).

    1Ki . Wheat for food, and pure oil—Phœnicia was poor in agricultural produce, but rich in umbrageous growth. The land of Israel was poor in trees, rich in corn and oil. This exchange was, therefore, mutually advantageous. The "pure oil," שֶׁמֶן כָּתִית beaten, i.e., finest oil, was obtained from olives not fully ripe, and pounded in mortars; had a white colour, as well as a better flavour; and yielded a purer and clearer light than the ordinary olive oil obtained through the press.—Keil

    1Ki . The Lord gave Solomon wisdom, &c., means that, guided by "wisdom profitable to direct," Solomon entered into a friendly alliance and commercial treaty with Hiram.

    1Ki . Raised a levy—lit., caused to go up (see note on 1Ki 4:6), וַיַּעַל to take out "30,000 men." These were Israelites, in distinction from Canaanitish bondservants (1Ki 9:20; 2Ch 8:7-9), and prisoners taken by David in war, numbering 153,600; and these levied Israelites are employed on lighter terms than the bondslaves, serving in detachments of 10,000 for one month, and then resting for two months at home, while the other two detachments take their turn.

    1Ki . Adoniram was over the levy (cf. note on 1Ki 4:6).

    1Ki . Threescore and ten thousand that bare burdens, &c—70,000 carriers and 80,000 cutters of wood; or, more probably, of stone— חֹצֵנ being more strictly used of a cutter of stone (2Ki 12:12), although used of both in this instance (Gesenius). This total of 150,000 were "strangers in the land of Israel" (2Ch 2:17). not Israelites.

    1Ki . Officers over the work, 3,300—These were over the bondmen; other 550 captains were over the 30,000 Israelites (1Ki 9:23).

    1Ki . The stone squarers וְהַגִּבְלִים—The Giblim (Jos 13:5), i.e., inhabitants of גְּבַל—These Giblites (see Eze 27:9) were specially skilful in shipbuilding. Thenius suggests that the slightly changed word וַיַּגְבִּלוּם be accepted, and then reads, "they wreathed the stones, put a border round them." i.e., "And Solomon's builders and Hiram's builders did hew them and bevel them." Such grooved or bevelled stones, twenty or thirty feet long by six feet, are now visible to Palestine explorers as the basement stones of the ancient temple, and are probably the original stones used "to lay the foundation of the house" (1Ki 5:17).—W. H. J.

    HOMILETICS OF 1Ki

    PREPARATIONS FOR A GREAT WORK

    I. That the preparations for a great work are facilitated where a genuine friendship exists.

    1. The friendship of a worthy father it often continued to his posterity. "For Hiram was ever a lover of David" (1Ki ). The friendships formed by a good man are a precious legacy to his children. He may have many and bitter enemies; but the faithful few will love him to the end of his days, and after his death will honour his memory even in his offspring. A son will sometimes receive signal advantages in life, for his father's sake. David rejoiced to show kindness to Mephibosheth, the crippled son of his friend Jonathan (2Sa 9:3; 2Sa 9:13). "A fast friend is a rare bird. Most friends now-a-days are like Joab's dagger, as soon in and as soon out. The love of foster-brothers in Ireland far surpasseth—saith one, but I believe him not—all the loves of all men. They only love truly that love one another out of a pure heart fervently (1Pe 1:22). This love lasteth."—Trapp.

    2. A genuine friendship it strengthened and perpetuated by mutual acts of courtesy and service (1Ki ). Solomon responds with great cordiality to the congratulatory embassage of Hiram, and, at the same time, suggests the way in which the Tyrian king can help in his great work of building a house for the Lord. Hiram cheerfully falls in with the arrangement, and the terms of contract are speedily and satisfactorily settled. A friendship where the giving is all on one side, and the receiving all on the other, will soon come to an irreparable breach. The quid pro quo may not always be the same in kind; but a true courtesy will ever be ready to acknowledge the preponderance of obligation.

    II. That in the preparation for a great work the choicest materials should be obtained (1Ki ; 1Ki 5:10; 1Ki 5:17, compared with 2Ch 2:7-8). Cedar, gold, and costly stones—the choicest timber, the choicest metal, and the choicest stone—were to be used in the building of the temple. Many wonderful properties are ascribed to the cedar, such as resisting putrefaction, destroying noxious insects, remaining sound for a thousand years, yielding an oil famous for preserving books and writings, &c. The wood is extremely hard, which caused the ancients to believe it incapable of decay. In whatever work we do for God, the best material should be used. Nothing is too good for Him. Some men will spend enormous sums on jewelry, on house furnishing, or on architectural decoration, and yet be content to see the ugliest and shabbiest material used in the service of God. David spared neither time, nor pains, nor expense in gathering together the costliest materials for the projected building, though he well knew he would not be permitted to take part in its erection. Let us not grudge to do the preparatory work by which posterity will principally benefit. He who does something to enrich the future of humanity has not lived in vain.

    III. That in the preparation for a great work the best talent should be sought. "There is not among us any that can skill to hew timber like unto the Sidonians" (1Ki compared with 1Ki 5:18). Sidon was a part of the territories of Hiram, and its inhabitants appear to have been the most expert workmen. Much skill is needed in the felling and treatment of timber. According to Vitruvius, a contemporary of Julius Cæsar, and author of a celebrated treatise on architecture, timber must be cut in the autumn or in the winter, when it is free from a moisture which is apt to make it rot, and it should be cut in such a manner as to allow the sap to distil away. It should never be exposed to a hot sun, high winds, or rain, nor drawn through the dew; and it should be in like manner guarded for three years before being used in building. Probably these and other similar precautions gave the Sidonians their fame for skill in felling timber. They were also celebrated as builders, and as dextrous in the working of all kinds of metals. Strabo ascribes to them great knowledge in philosophy, astronomy, geometry, arithmetic, navigation, and in all the fine arts. Sidon had glass works, linen, and other manufactures, that furnished very ingenious and far-sought commodities. Homer represents the most precious and valuable of the great metal wine bowls, in which the Greeks of the heroic age delighted, as imported from Sidon (Odyss. iv. 614-618; xv. 425), and made by Sidonian workmen (Iliad. xxiii. 743, 741). He also ascribes to Sidonian women the production of the beautifully embroidered robes which were worn by Asiatic ladies of the first rank (ib. vi. 289-295). Both Herodotus and Homer attest the general nautical skill of the Phœnicians; and the former assigns the palm to Sidon. Talent is the gift of Heaven, and its best efforts and most masterly productions should be consecrated to the noblest ends. The work of God affords scope for the exercise of the most accomplished and fertile genius.

    IV. That in the preparations for a great work respect should be had to the condition and wants of the workers. (Compare 1Ki ; 1Ki 5:9; 1Ki 5:11; 1Ki 5:13-16.) The labourers were well officered, and the toil and drudgery mitigated by a methodised system of relays (1Ki 5:14). Without some such system so vast a number of workers would relapse into a confused, tyrannical mob, and inflict on each other much oppression and suffering. Organisation lightens labour, while it consolidates it. The wants of the workers were supplied. In addition to the provisions sent to the royal court of Tyre (1Ki 5:9; 1Ki 5:11), Solomon furnished to the servants of Hiram 20,000 cors (about 222,000 bushels) of beaten wheat, 20,000 cors of barley, 20,000 baths of wine, and 20,000 baths of oil (2Ch 2:10). The land of Israel was rich in grain and oil, while in this respect Phoenicia was poor, the steep mountain ranges of Lebanon affording very little space for arable land. Honest labour should be honestly recompensed. In all work for God the utmost diligence and fidelity are demanded; but He will take care the humblest labourer shall not go unrewarded. "No house, even though it be the church and temple of God, should be built to the hurt and oppression of one's fellow-creatures." Every country has its staple commodity, by exchange of which intercourse is maintained with its neighbours. It is the happiness of a nation when, with the corn of Canaan, it possesses also the shipping of Tyre.

    V. That in the preparations for a great work help may be obtained from all available sources (1Ki ; 1Ki 5:8-10; 1Ki 5:12; 1Ki 5:18). The world may be used as the servant of the church. The unbeliever is often called upon to contribute to a work the spiritual significance and end of which he does not apprehend. The Tyrians, though Gentiles, were employed about the work of the Temple, and thus prefigured the vocation of the Gentiles and their future helping to build up the spiritual temple. Pellican, in allegorising this fact, observes that the Sidonians and the proselytes among the Jews were the workmen, but the rulers of the work were Israelites; thus showing forth that the spiritual temple should be built by disciples among the Gentiles, but the Apostles, who were Israelites, should be the chief workmen and governors therein. Solomon "knew that the Tyrians' skill was not given them for nothing. Not Jews only, but Gentiles, must have their hand in building the temple of God: only Jews meddled with the Tabernacle, but the temple is not built without the aid of Gentiles; they, together with us, make up the church of God (Eph 2:18; Eph 2:14). Even pagans have their arts from heaven: how justly may we improve their graces to the service of the God of heaven! If there be a Tyrian who can work more curiously in gold, in silver, in brass, in iron, in purple and blue silk, than an Israelite, why should he not be employed about the temple? Their heathenism is their own, their skill is their Maker's. Many a one works for the church of God that yet hath no part in it.—Bp. Hall. The varied talent and material riches of all nations should be made serviceable to the interests of Christ's kingdom, not for ostentation, for that would be "to make a calf of the treasure gotten out of Egypt."

    LESSONS:—

    1. A great work necessitates corresponding forethought.

    2. A great work it made up of numberless little efforts.

    3. Labour is dignified by the greatness of the end it seeks to accomplish.

    4. The work of one generation is completed by another.

    GERM NOTES ON THE VERSES

    1Ki . "For Hiram was ever a lover of David." The influence of a good man.

    1. Operates irrespective of distance.

    2. Attaches to himself men of widely different creeds.

    3. Makes known the character and worship of the true God.

    4. Secures valuable friendships for his posterity.

    1Ki . Solomon's purpose to build a house to the Lord.

    1. The motive. 1Ki . Notambition, the love of glory, the love of pomp; but the divine will and the charge of his father. In every weighty undertaking one must examine and be assured that it do not proceed from selfish motives, but is the good, acceptable, and perfect will of God (Rom 12:2).

    2. The time—rest and peace (1Ki ). A time of peace is the time for building in general, but especially for building houses of God, which are a memorial of thanksgiving for the blessings of peace and prosperity.

    3. The request for assistance (1Ki ). In important undertakings which are agreeable to the will of God and propose his honour, we may and should not hesitate to trust in Him. Who directs men's hearts, to ask others for aid and assistance.—Lange.

    1Ki . National peace.

    1. A blessing from God to be gratefully acknowledged.

    2. The most favourable period for carrying out great undertakings.

    3. Gives greater weight and influence in negotiating with other nations.

    4. Is conducive to the free and healthy development of the best qualities of the people.

    5. Is an emblematic representation of the universal peace to be.

    —"So that there is neither adversary." The Vulgate hath it. Non est Satan. We use to say, seldom lieth the Devil dead in a ditch. He is the troublous one, and delighteth to hinder anything that is good; but at this time God had chained him up, and Solomon had nothing to hinder him. "The Lord is with you whilst ye are with Him," saith one prophet (2Ch ). "And the Lord will be with the good," saith another (2Ch 19:11).—Trapp. Satan doth all he can to hinder temple-work (1Th 2:18; Zec 3:1); but when he is bound (Rev 20:2) we should be busy.

    1Ki . A dutiful Song of Solomon 1. Cherishes the memory;

    2. Maintains the reputation; and

    3. Executes the wishes of his deceased parent.

    —"I purpose to build a house unto the name of the Lord my God." There is no building of the ancient world which has excited so much attention since the time of its destruction, as the temple which Solomon built at Jerusalem, and its successor as rebuilt by Herod. Its spoils were considered worthy of forming the principal illustration of one of the most beautiful of Roman triumphal arches; and Justinian's highest architectural ambition was, that he might surpass it. Throughout the middle ages it influenced to a considerable degree the forms of Christian churches, and its peculiarities were the watchwords and rallying points of all associations of builders. Since the revival of learning in the sixteenth century, its arrangements have employed the pens of many learned antiquarians, and architects of several countries have taxed their science in trying to reproduce its forms. But it is not only to Christians that the temple of Solomon is so interesting; the whole Mohammedan world look to it as the foundation of all architectural knowledge, and the Jews still recall its glories, and sigh over their loss with a constant tenacity unmatched by that of any other people to any other building of the ancient world.—Smith's Dictionary.

    —If it cannot come into the mind of every one to build a house of wood and stone unto the Lord, nevertheless, every one to whom God has given wife and children is in a condition to vow and to build a house unto the Lord out of living stones. I and my house will serve the Lord (Jos ). Israel knew not how to plan great buildings, especially works of art, but they did know how to serve the living God. Better to live without art than without God in the world.—Lange.

    1Ki . The cedars of Lebanon are the most celebrated of all the trees of Scripture, the monarchs of the vegetable kingdom. The prophets refer to them as emblems of greatness, majesty, and splendour. Ezekiel (chap, 31) presents us with a most graphic description of their grandeur and beauty when he makes them representatives of the Assyrian power and glory. The wood was used for beams, pillars, boards, masts of ships, and carved images. Not only did David and Solomon import it for their building purposes, but the king of Assyria and Persia, and, perhaps, of other nations, did the same. The modern cedar of Lebanon is usually from fifty to eighty feet high, and often covers with its branches, when standing alone, a space the diameter of which is greater than the height of the tree. It is an evergreen, and its leaves are produced in tufts. Its branches, disposed in layers, spread out horizontally, and form, as they approach the top, a thick pyramidal head. The profane writers represent the cedar wood as specially noted for its durability, and the cedar roof of the great temple of Diana at Ephesus is said to have lasted four hundred years.

    1Ki (See also 2Ch 2:11-16). Hiram and Solomon.

    1. Gratification. Hiram "rejoiced greatly" when he heard the words of King Solomon. This arose partly from the love he bore to his father David; we are always attracted to them who are loved by those whom we love. "For David's sake"—the principle of substitution is every where to be seen in human life. An illustration in support of the doctrine of justification by faith. The gratification of Hiram sprang also from a recognition of Solomon's wisdom: gratification in another's good.

    2. Consideration (1Ki ). The demand of Solomon was no small one, and deserved consideration. It involved, in all probability, a great sacrifice on the part of the Tyrians. It is true that in the eleventh verse we are told that "Solomon gave," &c., yet that was for his household, or servants who were engaged in work for Solomon's own benefit. How would this great sacrifice affect Hiram's subjects? Would they be willing to give to the people of another nation so much of their property, and especially for the erection of a temple for the worship of (to them) a strange deity? All these things Hiram must have taken into consideration. Most of the mischief of life is the result of a want of thought and consideration. "Evil is wrought by want of thought, as well as want of heart."

    2. Satisfaction. "All his desire" (1Ki ). There was not one thing which Solomon asked, which Hiram did not grant. It is not right to ask or expect unreasonable things. It is right to grant reasonable requests, even if they should occasion sacrifice; unreasonable requests should not be granted, even if it should be more easy to do so than to refuse.

    4. Recognition. "Endued with understanding" (2Ch ). Knowledge, genius, skill, are of heavenly birth, and to despise them is to be guilty of a sin.

    5. Combination. Solomon and Hiram were not independent of each other. No one can serve God properly in isolation: "Two are better far than one," &c. Query, Have Christians a right to remain detached from the church of Christ?

    6. Distribution. (See 2Ch .) Each did the part allotted to him; the result was success.—F. Wagstaff.

    1Ki . It proves a noble heart when a man, free from envy and jealousy, sincerely praises and thanks God for the gifts and blessings which He grants to others. When God wishes well to a nation He bestows upon it godly rulers; but when He wills to chastise it He removes them. Hiram praises God that He bestows upon another people a wise monarch: how much more should that people itself thank God, since He bestowed upon it a wise and pious king?

    1Ki ; 1Ki 5:10. The heathen king Hiram.

    1. His rejoicing over Solomon and his undertaking.

    2. His praise of the God of Israel.

    3. His willingness to help. How far stands this heathen above so many who call themselves Christians!—Lange.

    1Ki . Kingly Wisdom

    1. Is a divine gift.

    2. Is honourably employed in cultivating peaceful relations with neighbouring kingdoms.

    3. Encourages a prosperous commerce.

    4. Promotes the best social interests of the people.

    5. Conserves and extends the religious life of the church.

    —The league between Solomon and Hiram.

    1. Its object—a good God-pleasing work begun in the service of God. Like kings and nations, even so individual men should unite only for such purposes.

    2. Its conditions—each gave to the other according to his desire; neither sought to overreach the other; the compact was based upon honesty and fairness, not upon cunning and selfishness. Only upon such compacts does the blessing of God rest, for unjust possessions do not prosper.—Lange.

    1Ki . The workmen at the temple building.

    1. Israelites. Solomon acted not like Pharaoh (Exo ). He laid no insupportable burdens upon his people, but permits variety in the work, and Israel itself undertakes it without murmurs or complaints. How high do those Israelites stand above so many Christian communities, who constantly object or murmur when they are about to undertake any labour for their temple, or must needs bring a sacrifice of mercy or time!

    2. Heathen (Psa ). Jew and heathen together must build the temple of God, according to divine decree—a prophetic anticipation of fact as set forth Eph 2:14; Eph 2:19-22; Eph 3:4-6. The great preparations of Solomon must naturally remind us of the far greater preparations and arrangements which God has made for the building of the spiritual temple of the New Testament. How many thousand faithful labourers, how many wise and good men, has he placed in every known part of the world: how has he furnished them with wisdom and many other gifts of the Spirit, so that the great work of the glorious building may be completed!—Lange.

    1Ki . "And they brought costly stones to lay the foundation." Now is the foundation laid, and the walls rising of that glorious fabric which all nations admired, and all times have celebrated. Even those stones which were laid in the base of the building were not ragged and rude, but hewn and costly: the part that lies covered with earth from the eyes of all beholders is no less precious than those that are more conspicuous. God is not all for the eye: He pleaseth Himself with the hidden value of the living stones of His spiritual temple. How many noble graces of His servants have been buried by obscurity! not discerned so much as by their own eyes! which yet as He gave, so He crowneth. Hypocrites regard nothing but show; God nothing but truth.—Bp. Hall.

    Copyright Statement
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    Bibliographical Information
    Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on 1 Kings 5:6". Preacher's Complete Homiletical Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/phc/1-kings-5.html. Funk & Wagnalls Company, 1892.

    Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary

    (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 an 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 an 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.

    Solomon's embassy to Hiram being on so important a subject as the building of the temple, every part of it becomes interesting for the pious Reader to regard. Herein Solomon was eminently a type of Jesus, of whom the prophet predicted that he should build the temple of the Lord, and he should bear the glory. Zechariah 6:13. It is worthy of remark that Lebanon was in Solomon's territories, but Hiram's servants were more expert in hewing timber than the Israelites. Now the prophet Isaiah explains this in reference to gospel times. The sons of strangers shall build up thy walls; and their kings shall minister unto thee; that is, unto Jesus. See Isaiah 60:10. And Solomon, as a type of Christ, had the ministry of those servants of Hiram, the men of Tyre and Sidon; and Hiram himself is brought in upon this occasion to minister as an instrument in the Lord's hand to the service of Solomon, in building his temple. But Reader! there is still a greater beauty in the subject considered as typical of the gospel church of Jesus. Oh! Reader! think what sons of strangers in our Gentile church the ministers of Christ are, whom the Lord hath employed to build the walls of his Zion!, may not everyone of this description exclaim, My birth and my nativity is of the land of Canaan; my father was an Amnonite, and my mother an Hittite, See Ezekiel 16:3. Oh! how marvellous and distinguishing is the grace of God! if the Reader be desirous to see more of the beautiful figures made use of concerning Lebanon, etc. I refer him to Isa 60. throughout.

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    Bibliographical Information
    Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on 1 Kings 5:6". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pmc/1-kings-5.html. 1828.

    Joseph Benson's Commentary of the Old and New Testaments

    1 Kings 5:6. Now therefore command thou, that they — That is, thy servants, who are skilful in such work; hew me cedar-trees — Which, for their soundness, and strength, and fragrancy, and durable-ness, were most proper for his design. Of these David had procured some, but not a sufficient number. Out of Lebanon — Which was in Solomon’s jurisdiction; and therefore he doth not desire that Hiram would give him the cedars, because they were his own already, but only that his servants might hew them for him, which the ingenious Tyrians well understood: My servants shall be with thy servants — Either to be employed as they shall direct, or to receive the cedars from their hands, and transmit them to me. And unto thee will I give hire for thy servants — Pay them for their labour and art. Sidonians — Or Tyrians; for these places and people, being near each other, are promiscuously used one for another. This assistance, which these Gentiles gave to the building of Solomon’s temple, was a type of the calling of the Gentiles, and that they should be instrumental in building and constituting Christ’s spiritual temple.

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    Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on 1 Kings 5:6". Joseph Benson's Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rbc/1-kings-5.html. 1857.

    Spurgeon's Verse Expositions of the Bible

    1 Kings 5:1-5. 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. And Solomon sent to Hiram saying, 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. But now the LORD my God hath given me rest on every side, so that there is neither adversary nor evil occurrent. And, behold, I purpose to build an 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 an house unto my name.

    When God intends a man to do any special work for him, he will find him all the helpers he needs. Sometimes those helpers may seem to be very unlikely persons; but —“Remember that omnipotence has servants everywhere.” See, dear friends, when the Lord had given rest to Solomon, he proceeded with the building of the temple which David had planned. Whenever God blesses you, show your gratitude to him by undertaking some special service for him. Now that you are out of your recent trouble, bring your sacrifice of thanksgiving, and do all that you can for your Lord; your time of rest may not last so long as you could wish, therefore use it while you have it to God’s glory.

    1 Kings 5:6. Now therefore command thou that they hew me cedar tree 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.

    It is not every man who has every gift. Hiram and his Sidonians could hew timber more skillfully than Solomon and his Israelites. God can always find the right sort of men to do his work. Do not be dispirited because you cannot do everything; why should you? Should not somebody else have a share, and be also permitted to have the honour of serving his God? It is well that you cannot do all that has to be done, and that somebody else can do something better than you can.

    1 Kings 5:7-8. 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. And Hiram sent to Solomon, saying, I have considered the things which thou sentest to me for: —

    It is always a good thing, before you agree to do anything, to consider it, to look at it from all points of view. I wish that, in giving money to the service of God, there was more consideration as to the object for which it is given. Some give simply because others do, some because they are asked; but he gives best who considers the matter, and looks all round, and then says, “Yes, this is a just claim upon me as a servant of God, and therefore I will respond to it.” So, “Hiram sent to Solomon, saying, I have considered the things which thou sentest to me for:”–

    1 Kings 5:8-11. And I will do all thy desire concerning timber of cedar, and concerning timber of 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 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. So Hiram gave Solomon cedar trees and fir trees according to all his desire. And Solomon gave Hiram twenty thousand measures of wheat for food to his household, and twenty measures of pure oil: thus gave Solomon to Hiram year by year.

    Is it not a very pleasing thought that both Jews and Gentiles built the temple of Solomon put the big stones together, and cut the cedar and fir trees into the proper shape, yet they were Hiram’s fir trees and Hiram’s cedar trees, and he floated them by sea to the place where they were landed, and whence they were dragged to Jerusalem, and God will let his people of every race and nation have a share in the building of his great spiritual house.

    1 Kings 5:12-14. And the LORD gave Solomon wisdom, as he promised him: and there was peace between Hiram and Solomon; and they two made a league together. And king Solomon raised a levy out of all Israel; and the levy was thirty thousand men. And he sent them to Lebanon, ten thousand a month by courses: a month they were in Lebanon, and two months at home: and Adoniram was over the levy.

    That was a capital rule: “a month they were in Lebanon, and two months at home.” You who work for God must have your month at work, but you also need two months at home to attend to your own business. There are some people who keep always at Lebanon, always at work; but there is spiritual work to be done at home as well, getting your heart ready for service, sharpening your tools, looking after your own flocks and herds, and so on There was hard work to be done, and if it was to be done well, the workers needed to have their sinews and muscles in good order, so “a month they were in Lebanon, and two months at home.” One prayer in the glass and two prayers at home; one hour of teaching the lesson, twice as much time taken in getting it up and preparing it.

    1 Kings 5:15. And Solomon had threescore and ten thousand that bare burdens, and fourscore thousand hewers in the mountains;

    What were their names? I cannot tell you, but probably there was a book in which they were all recorded, and Christ has many humble workers, hewers of wood and bearers of burdens, whose names are not known among men. Well, what is in a name? Let us be content to serve under our greater Solomon, and let the whole glory of building his spiritual temple go to him. Never mind who bears the burdens or who hews the stones, the temple is for God, so let God be glorified, and not man.

    1 Kings 5:16. Beside the chief of Solomon’s officers which were over the work, three thousand and three hundred, which ruled over the people that wrought in the work.

    There must be various degrees among the workers in the service of God. He is a Sovereign, and he divideth unto every man according as he wills. How this ought to hush all envy and rebellion against the officers in the work of God whom he has called to be overseers of others!

    1 Kings 5:17. And the king commanded,

    That is at the bottom of all service for our King; let us but get a command from the King, and we obey at once.

    1 Kings 5:17-18. And they brought great stones, costly stones, and hewed stones, to lay the foundation of the house. And Solomon’s builders and Hiram’s builders did hew them, and the stonesquarers:

    I am glad they are mentioned here, for there are still some brothers and sisters who are not hewers, but they are stonesquarers. Perhaps they do not see many conversions through their efforts, but they do a great deal of the work of instructing the converts. They polish what other people have excavated, they are stonesquarers; and just as the temple at Jerusalem needed the work of the stonesquarers, so does God’s great spiritual temple need those who square as well as those who hew the stones that are to be built into it.

    1 Kings 5:18. So they prepared timber and stones to build the house.

    Nothing is too good or too costly to be given to God, and let us reckon no labour too hard or too heavy that will bring glory to his holy name.

    This exposition consisted of readings from 1 Kings 5, and Psalms 48, 95.

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    Bibliographical Information
    Spurgeon, Charle Haddon. "Commentary on 1 Kings 5:6". "Spurgeon's Verse Expositions of the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/spe/1-kings-5.html. 2011.

    The Biblical Illustrator

    1 Kings 5:1-18

    Hiram king of Tyre sent his servants unto Solomon . . . to build the house.

    The co-operation of Hiram

    According to tradition, Hiram was a tributary or dependent monarch. The embassy which Hiram sent on this occasion was evidently meant to express the congratulations of the King of Tyre--in 2 Chronicles 2:14-15, we find the words, “My lord,” “My lord David thy father.” There is a notable mixture of affection and reverence in the spirit which Hiram showed to Solomon; Hiram was “ever a lover of David,” and yet he speaks of David in terms which an inferior would use to a superior. Hiram preserved the continuity of friendship, and herein showed himself an example, not only to monarchs but to other men. Although Solomon was blessed with “rest on every side,” and was enabled to look upon a future without so much as the shadow of an adversary upon it, yet he was determined not to be indolent. Suppose a man to come into the circumstances which we have described as constituting the royal position of Solomon, and suppose that man destitute of an adequate and all-controlling purpose, it is easy to see how he would become the victim of luxury, and how what little strength he had would gradually be withdrawn from him. But at all events, in the opening of Solomon’s career, we see that the purpose was always uppermost, the soul was in a regnant condition, all outward pomp and circumstance was ordered back into its right perspective, and the king pursued a course of noble constancy as he endeavoured to realise the idea and intent of heaven. The same law applies to all prosperous men. To increase in riches is to increase in temptation, to indolence and self-idolatry: to external trust and vain confidence, to misanthropy, monopoly, and oppression; the only preventive or cure is the cultivation of a noble “purpose,” so noble indeed as to throw almost into contempt everything that is merely temporal and earthly. Even the noblest purpose needs the co-operation of sympathetic and competent men. Thus the Jew seeks assistance from the Gentile in building the house of the Lord. How wonderful are the co-operations which are continually taking place in life! so subtly do they interblend, and make up that which is lacking in each other, that it is simply impossible to effect an exhaustive analysis, Nor would it be desirable that such an analysis should be completed. We should fix our minds upon the great fact that no man liveth unto himself, that no man is complete in himself, that every man needs the help of every other man, and thus we shall see how mysteriously is built the great temple of life, and is realised before the eyes of the universe the great purpose of God. Co-operation is only another word for the distributions which God has made of talent and opportunity. In vain had Hiram responded in the language of generous sympathy if Israel itself had been a divided people. This must be the condition of the Church as a great working body in the world. It will be in vain that poetry, history, literature, music, and things which apparently lie outside the line of spiritual activity, send in their offers, tributes, and contributions, each according to its own kind, if the Church to which the offer is made is a divided and self-destroying body. When all Israel is one, the contributions of Tyre will be received with thankfulness and be turned to their highest uses. A beautiful picture is given in verse 14. The picture represents the difference between cutting down and setting up; in other words, the difference between destruction and construction. It was easier to cut down than it was to build up. The two operations should always go on together. The business of the Church is to pull down, and to build up; even to use the materials of the enemy in building up the temple of the living God. The picture has aa evident relation to the ease with which men can pull down faith and darken hope and unsettle confidence. Thus the work of foreign missions should help the work of missions at home. Every idolatry that is thrown down abroad should be turned into a contribution for the upbuilding and strengthening of the Church at home. The care shown of the foundation is another instance of the wisdom of Solomon. The stones which were used in the foundation were in no sense considered insignificant or worthless. The stones which Solomon used are described as “great stones, costly stones, and hewed stones”; the terms which are used to describe the foundation which was laid in Zion are these--“A stone, a tried stone, a precious corner-stone, a sure foundation.” We read also of the foundations of the wall of the city which John saw in vision--“The wall of the city had twelve foundations, and in them the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.” A curious illustration of the union between the permanent and the temporary is shown in all earthly arrangements. Solomon laid foundations which might have lasted as long as the earth itself endured. Judging by the foundations alone, one would have said concerning the work of Solomon, This is meant for permanence; no thought of change or decay ever occurred to the mind of the man who laid these noble courses. It is the same with ourselves in nearly all the relations of life. We know that we may die to-day, yet we lay plans which will require years and generations to accomplish. Yet we often speak as having no obligation to the future, or as if the future would do nothing for us, not knowing that it is the future which makes the present what it is, and that but for the future all our inspiration would be lost because our hope would perish. Let us see that our foundations are strong. A beautiful illustration of contrast and harmony is to be found in the distribution which Solomon made of his workers and the labour they were required to undertake. Here we find burden-bearers, hewers in the mountains, officers, and rulers. There was no standing upon one level or claiming of one dignity. Each man did what he could according to the measure of his capacity, and each man did precisely what he was told to do by his commanding officer. It is in vain to talk about any equality that does not recognise the principle of order and the principle of obedience. Our equality must be found in our devotion, in the pureness of our purpose, in the steadfastness of our loyalty, and not in merely official status or public prominence. The unity of the Church must be found, not in its forms, emoluments, dignities, and the like, but in the simplicity of its faith and the readiness of its eager and affectionate obedience. (J. Parker, D. D.)

    Copyright Statement
    These files are public domain.
    Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
    Bibliographical Information
    Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on "1 Kings 5:6". The Biblical Illustrator. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tbi/1-kings-5.html. 1905-1909. New York.

    The Biblical Illustrator

    1 Kings 5:1-18

    Hiram king of Tyre sent his servants unto Solomon . . . to build the house.

    The co-operation of Hiram

    According to tradition, Hiram was a tributary or dependent monarch. The embassy which Hiram sent on this occasion was evidently meant to express the congratulations of the King of Tyre--in 2 Chronicles 2:14-15, we find the words, “My lord,” “My lord David thy father.” There is a notable mixture of affection and reverence in the spirit which Hiram showed to Solomon; Hiram was “ever a lover of David,” and yet he speaks of David in terms which an inferior would use to a superior. Hiram preserved the continuity of friendship, and herein showed himself an example, not only to monarchs but to other men. Although Solomon was blessed with “rest on every side,” and was enabled to look upon a future without so much as the shadow of an adversary upon it, yet he was determined not to be indolent. Suppose a man to come into the circumstances which we have described as constituting the royal position of Solomon, and suppose that man destitute of an adequate and all-controlling purpose, it is easy to see how he would become the victim of luxury, and how what little strength he had would gradually be withdrawn from him. But at all events, in the opening of Solomon’s career, we see that the purpose was always uppermost, the soul was in a regnant condition, all outward pomp and circumstance was ordered back into its right perspective, and the king pursued a course of noble constancy as he endeavoured to realise the idea and intent of heaven. The same law applies to all prosperous men. To increase in riches is to increase in temptation, to indolence and self-idolatry: to external trust and vain confidence, to misanthropy, monopoly, and oppression; the only preventive or cure is the cultivation of a noble “purpose,” so noble indeed as to throw almost into contempt everything that is merely temporal and earthly. Even the noblest purpose needs the co-operation of sympathetic and competent men. Thus the Jew seeks assistance from the Gentile in building the house of the Lord. How wonderful are the co-operations which are continually taking place in life! so subtly do they interblend, and make up that which is lacking in each other, that it is simply impossible to effect an exhaustive analysis, Nor would it be desirable that such an analysis should be completed. We should fix our minds upon the great fact that no man liveth unto himself, that no man is complete in himself, that every man needs the help of every other man, and thus we shall see how mysteriously is built the great temple of life, and is realised before the eyes of the universe the great purpose of God. Co-operation is only another word for the distributions which God has made of talent and opportunity. In vain had Hiram responded in the language of generous sympathy if Israel itself had been a divided people. This must be the condition of the Church as a great working body in the world. It will be in vain that poetry, history, literature, music, and things which apparently lie outside the line of spiritual activity, send in their offers, tributes, and contributions, each according to its own kind, if the Church to which the offer is made is a divided and self-destroying body. When all Israel is one, the contributions of Tyre will be received with thankfulness and be turned to their highest uses. A beautiful picture is given in verse 14. The picture represents the difference between cutting down and setting up; in other words, the difference between destruction and construction. It was easier to cut down than it was to build up. The two operations should always go on together. The business of the Church is to pull down, and to build up; even to use the materials of the enemy in building up the temple of the living God. The picture has aa evident relation to the ease with which men can pull down faith and darken hope and unsettle confidence. Thus the work of foreign missions should help the work of missions at home. Every idolatry that is thrown down abroad should be turned into a contribution for the upbuilding and strengthening of the Church at home. The care shown of the foundation is another instance of the wisdom of Solomon. The stones which were used in the foundation were in no sense considered insignificant or worthless. The stones which Solomon used are described as “great stones, costly stones, and hewed stones”; the terms which are used to describe the foundation which was laid in Zion are these--“A stone, a tried stone, a precious corner-stone, a sure foundation.” We read also of the foundations of the wall of the city which John saw in vision--“The wall of the city had twelve foundations, and in them the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.” A curious illustration of the union between the permanent and the temporary is shown in all earthly arrangements. Solomon laid foundations which might have lasted as long as the earth itself endured. Judging by the foundations alone, one would have said concerning the work of Solomon, This is meant for permanence; no thought of change or decay ever occurred to the mind of the man who laid these noble courses. It is the same with ourselves in nearly all the relations of life. We know that we may die to-day, yet we lay plans which will require years and generations to accomplish. Yet we often speak as having no obligation to the future, or as if the future would do nothing for us, not knowing that it is the future which makes the present what it is, and that but for the future all our inspiration would be lost because our hope would perish. Let us see that our foundations are strong. A beautiful illustration of contrast and harmony is to be found in the distribution which Solomon made of his workers and the labour they were required to undertake. Here we find burden-bearers, hewers in the mountains, officers, and rulers. There was no standing upon one level or claiming of one dignity. Each man did what he could according to the measure of his capacity, and each man did precisely what he was told to do by his commanding officer. It is in vain to talk about any equality that does not recognise the principle of order and the principle of obedience. Our equality must be found in our devotion, in the pureness of our purpose, in the steadfastness of our loyalty, and not in merely official status or public prominence. The unity of the Church must be found, not in its forms, emoluments, dignities, and the like, but in the simplicity of its faith and the readiness of its eager and affectionate obedience. (J. Parker, D. D.)

    Copyright Statement
    These files are public domain.
    Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
    Bibliographical Information
    Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on "1 Kings 5:6". The Biblical Illustrator. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tbi/1-kings-5.html. 1905-1909. New York.

    Expositor's Bible Commentary

    ; 1 Kings 6:1-38; 1 Kings 7:1-51

    THE TEMPLE

    1 Kings 5:1-18; 1 Kings 6:1-38; 1 Kings 7:1-51

    "And his next son, for wealth and wisdom famed, The clouded Ark of God, till then in tents Wandering, shall in a glorious temple enshrine."

    -Paradise Lost, 12:340.

    AFTER the destructive battle of Aphek, in which the Philistines had defeated Israel, slain the two sons of Eli, and taken captive the Ark of God, they had inflicted a terrible vengeance on the old sanctuary at Shiloh. They had burnt the young men in the fire, and slain the priests with the sword, and no widows were left to make lamentation. {Psalms 78:58-64} It is true that, terrified by portents and diseases, the Philistines after a time restored the Ark, and the Tabernacle of the wilderness with its brazen altar still gave sacredness to the great high place at Gibeon, to which apparently it had been removed. Nevertheless, the old worship seems to have languished till it received a new and powerful impulse from the religious earnestness of David. He had the mind of a patriot-statesman as well as of a soldier, and he felt that a nation is nothing without its sacred memories. Those memories clustered round the now-discredited Ark. Its capture, and its parade as a trophy of victory in the shrine of Dagon, had robbed it of all its superstitious prestige as a fetish; but, degraded as it had been, it still continued to be the one inestimably precious historic relic which enshrined the memories of the deliverance of Israel from Egypt, and the dawn of its heroic age.

    As soon as David had given to his people the boon of a unique capital, nothing could be more natural than the wish to add sacredness to the glory of the capital by making it the center of the national worship. According to the Chronicles, David-feeling it a reproach that he himself should dwell in palaces celled with cedar and painted with vermilion while the Ark of God dwelt between curtains-had made unheard-of preparations to build a house for God. But it had been decreed unfit that the sanctuary should be built by a man whose hands were red with the blood of many wars, and he had received the promise that the great work should be accomplished by his son.

    Into that work Solomon threw himself with hearty zeal in the month Zif of the fourth year of his reign, when his kingdom was consolidated. It commanded all his sympathies as an artist, a lover of magnificence, and a ruler bent on the work of centralization. It was a task to which he was bound by the solemn exhortation of his father, and he felt, doubtless, its political as well as its religious importance. With his sincere desire to build to God’s glory was mingled a prophetic conviction that his task would be fraught with immense issues for the future of his people and of all the world. The presence of the Temple left its impress on the very name of Jerusalem. Although it has nothing to do with the Temple or with Solomon, it became known to the heathen world as Hierosolyma, which, as we see from Eupolemos (Euseb., Praep. Evang., 9:34), the Gentile world supposed to mean "the Temple (Hieron) of Solomon."

    The materials already provided were of priceless value. David had consecrated to God the spoils which he had won from conquered kings. We must reject, as the exaggerations of national vanity, the monstrous numbers which now stand in the text of the chronicler; but a king whose court was simple and inexpensive was quite able to amass treasures of gold and silver, brass and iron, precious marbles and onyx stones. Solomon had only to add to these sacred stores.

    He inherited the friendship which David had enjoyed, with Hiram, King of Tyre, who, according to the strange phrase of the Vatican Septuagint, sent his servants "to anoint" Solomon. The friendliest overtures passed between the two kings in letters, to which Josephus appeals as still extant. A commercial treaty was made by which Solomon engaged to furnish the Tyrian king with annual revenues of wheat, barley, and oil; {Comp. Ezekiel 27:17 Acts 12:20} and Hiram put at Solomon’s disposal the skilled labor of an army of Sidonian wood-cutters and artisans. The huge trunks of cedar and cypress were sent rushing down the heights of Lebanon by schlittage, and laboriously dragged by road or river to the shore. There they were constructed into immense rafts, which were floated a hundred miles along the coast to Joppa, where they were again dragged with enormous toil for thirty-five miles up the steep and rocky roads to Jerusalem. For more than twenty years, while Solomon was building the Temple and his various royal constructions, Jerusalem became a hive of ceaseless and varied industry. Its ordinary inhabitants must have been swelled by an army of Canaanite serfs and Phoenician artisans to whom residences were assigned in Ophel. There lived the hewers and bevellers of stone; the cedar-cutters of Gebal or Biblos; the cunning workmen in gold or brass; the bronze-casters who made their moulds in the clay ground of the Jordan valley; the carvers and engravers; the dyers who stained wool with the purple of the murex, and the scarlet dye of the trumpet fish; the weavers and embroiderers of fine linen. Every class of laborer was put into requisition, from the descendants of the Gibeonite Nethinim, who were rough hewers of wood and drawers of water, to the trained artificers whose beautiful productions we’re the wonder of the world. The "father," or master-workman, of the whole community was a half-caste, who also bore the name of Hiram, and was the son of a woman of Naphtali by a Tyrian father.

    Some writers have tried to minimize Solomon’s work as a builder, and have spoken of the Temple as an exceedingly insignificant structure which would not stand a moment’s comparison with the smallest and humblest of our own cathedrals. Insignificant in size it certainly was, but we must not forget its costly splendor, the remote age in which the work was achieved, and the truly stupendous constructions which the design required. Mount Moriah was selected as a site hallowed by the tradition of Abraham’s sacrifice, and more recently by David’s vision of the Angel of the Pestilence with his drawn sword on the threshing-floor of the Jebusite Prince Araunah. But to utilize this doubly consecrated area involved almost superhuman difficulties, which would have been avoided if the loftier but less suitable height of the Mount of Olives could have been chosen. The rugged summit had to be enlarged to a space of five hundred yards square, and this level was supported by Cyclopean walls, which have long been the wonder of the world. The magnificent wall on the east side, known as "the Jews’ wailing-place," is doubtless the work of Solomon, and after outlasting "the drums and tramplings of a hundred triumphs," it remains to this day in uninjured massiveness. One of the finely beveled stones is 38 1/2 feet long and 7 feet high, and weighs more than 100 tons. These vast stones were hewn from a quarry above the level of the wall, and lowered by rollers down an inclined plane. Part of the old wall rises 30 feet above the present level of the soil, but a far larger part of the height lies hidden 80 feet under the accumulated debris of the often captured city. At the southwest angle, by Robinson’s arch, three pavements were discovered, one beneath the other, showing the gradual filling up of the valley; and on the lowest of these were found the broken voussoirs of the arch. In Solomon’s day the whole of this mighty wall was visible. On one of the lowest stones have been discovered the Phoenician paint-marks which indicated where each of the huge masses, so carefully dressed, edge-drafted, and beveled, was to be placed in the structure. The caverns, quarries water storages, and subterranean conduits hewn out of the solid rock, over which Jerusalem is built, could only have been constructed at the cost of immeasurable toil. They would be wonderful even with our infinitely more rapid methods and more powerful agencies; but when we remember that they were made three thousand years ago we do not wonder that their massiveness has haunted the imagination of so many myriads of visitors from every nation. It was perhaps from his Egyptian father-in-law that Solomon, to his own cost, learnt the secret of forced labor which alone rendered such undertakings possible. In their Egyptian bondage the forefathers of Israel had been fatally familiar with the ugly word Mas, the labor wrung from them by hard task-masters. {Exodus 1:2} In the reign of Solomon it once more became only too common on the lips of the burdened people. 1 Kings 4:6; 1 Kings 5:13-14; 1 Kings 5:17-18; 1 Kings 9:15; 1 Kings 21:12-18.

    Four classes were subject to it.

    1. The lightest labor was required from the native freeborn Israelites (ezrach). They were not regarded as bondsmen yet 30,000 of these were required in relays of 10,000 to work, one month in every three, in the forest of Lebanon.

    2. There were strangers, or resident aliens (Gerim), such as the Phoenicians and Giblites, who were Hiram’s subjects and worked for pay.

    3. There were three classes of slaves-those taken in war, or sold for debt, or home-born.

    4. Lowest and most wretched of all, there were the vassal Canaanites (Toshabim), from whom were drawn those 70, 000 burden-bearers, and 80, 000 quarry-men, the Helots of Palestine, who were placed under the charge of 3600 Israelite ofricers. The blotches of smoke are still visible on the walls and roofs of the subterranean quarries where there poor serfs, in the dim torchlight and suffocating air "labored without reward, perished without pity, and suffered without redress." The sad narrative reveals to us, and modern research confirms, that the purple of Solomon had a very seamy side, and that an abyss of misery heaved and moaned under the glittering surface of his splendor. {1 Kings 5:13; 1 Kings 9:22 2 Chronicles 8:9} (Omitted in the LXX) Jerusalem during the twenty years occupied by his building must have presented the disastrous spectacle of task-masters, armed with rods and scourges, enforcing the toil of gangs of slaves, as we see them represented in the tombs of Egypt and the palaces of Assyria. The sequel shows the jealousies and discontents even of the native Israelites, who felt themselves to be "scourged with whips and laden with heavy burdens." They were bondmen in all but name, for purposes which bore very little on their own welfare. But the curses of the wretched aborigines must have been deeper, if not so loud. They were torn from such homes as the despotism of conquest still left to them, and were forced to hopeless and unrewarded toil for the alien worship and hateful palaces of their masters. Five centuries later we find a pitiable trace of their existence in the 392 Hierodouloi, menials lower even than the enslaved Nethinim, who are called "sons of the slaves of Solomon"-the dwindling and miserable remnant of that vast levy of Palestinian serfs.

    Apart from the lavish costliness of its materials the actual Temple was architecturally a poor and commonplace structure. It was quite small-only 90 feet long, 35 feet broad, and 45 feet high. It was meant for the symbolic habitation of God, not for the worship of great congregations. It only represented the nascent art and limited resources of a tenth-rate kingdom, and was totally devoid alike of the pure and stately beauty of the Parthenon and the awe-inspiring grandeur of the great Egyptian temples with their avenues of obelisks and sphinxes and their colossal statues of deities and kings

    "Staring right on with calm, eternal eyes."

    When Justinian, boastfully exclaimed, as he looked at his church, "I have vanquished thee, O Solomon," and when the Khalif Omar, pointing to the Dome of the Rock, murmured, "Behold, a greater than Solomon is here," they forgot the vast differences between them and the Jewish king in the epoch at which they lived and the resources which they could command. The Temple was built in "majestic silence."

    "No workman’s axe no ponderous hammer rung.

    Like some tall palm the noiseless fabric sprung."

    This was due to religious reverence. It could be easily accomplished, because each stone and beam was carefully prepared to be fitted in its exact place before it was carried up the Temple hill.

    The elaborate particulars furnished us of the measurements of Solomon’s Temple are too late in age, too divergent in particulars, too loosely strung together, too much mingled with later reminiscences, and altogether too architecturally insufficient, to enable us to reconstruct the exact building, or even to form more than a vague conception of its external appearance. Both in Kings and Chronicles the notices, as Keil says, are "incomplete extracts made independently of one another." and vague in essential details. Critics and architects have attempted to reproduce the Temple on Greek, Egyptian, and Phoenician models, so entirely unlike each other as to show that we can arrive at no certainty. It is, however, most probable that, alike in ornamentation and conception, the building was predominantly Phoenician. Severe in outline, gorgeous in detail, it was more like the Temple of Venus-Astarte at Paphos than any other. Fortunately the details, apart from such dim symbolism as we may detect in them, have no religious importance, but only a historic and antiquarian interest.

    The Temple-called Baith or Hekal-was surrounded by the thickly clustered houses of the Levites, and by porticoes through which the precincts were entered by numerous gates of wood overlaid with brass. A grove of olives, palms, cedars, and cypresses, the home of many birds, probably adorned the outer court. This court was shut from the "higher court," {Jeremiah 36:10} afterwards known as "the Court of the Priests," by a partition of three rows of hewn stones surmounted by a cornice of cedar beams. In the higher court, which was reached by a flight of steps, was the vast new altar of brass, 15 feet high and 30 feet long, of which the hollow was filled with earth and stones, and of which the blazing sacrifices were visible in the court below. Here also stood the huge molten sea, borne on the backs of twelve brazen oxen, of which three faced to each quarter of the heavens. It was in the form of a lotus blossom, and its rim was hung with three hundred wild gourds in bronze, cast in two rows. Its reservoir of eight hundred and eighty gallons of water was for the priestly ablutions necessary in the butcheries of sacrifice, and its usefulness was supplemented by ten brazen caldrons on wheels, five on each side, adorned like "the sea," with pensile garlands and cherubic emblems, Whether "the brazen serpent of the wilderness," to which the children of Israel burnt incense down to the days of Hezekiah, was in that court or in the Temple we do not know.

    On the western side of this court, facing the rising sun, stood the Temple itself, on a platform elevated some sixteen feet from the ground. Its side chambers were "lean-to" annexes (Hebrews, ribs; Vulg., tabulata) in three stories, all accessible by one central entrance on the outside. Their beams rested on rebatements in the thickness of the wall, and the highest was the broadest. Above these were windows "skewed and closed," as the margin of the A.V. says; or "broad within and narrow without"; or, as it should rather be rendered, "with closed crossbeams," that is, with immovable lattices, which could not be opened and shut, but which allowed the escape of the smoke of lamps and the fumes of incense. These chambers must also have had windows. They were used to store the garments of the priests and other necessary paraphernalia of the Temple service, but as to all details we are left completely in the dark.

    Of the external aspect of the building in Solomon’s day we know nothing. We cannot even tell whether it had one level roof, or whether the Holy of Holies was like a lower chancel at the end of it; nor whether the roof was flat or, as the Rabbis say, ridged; nor whether the outer surface of the three-storeyed chambers which surrounded it was of stone, or planked with cedar, or overlaid with plinths of gold and silver; nor whether, in any case, it was ornamented with carvings or left blank; nor whether the cornices only were decorated with open flowers like the Assyrian rosettes. Nor do we know with certainty whether it was supported within by pillars or not. In the state of the records as they have come down to us, all accurate or intelligible descriptions are slurred over by compilers who had no technical knowledge and whose main desire was to impress their countrymen with the truth that the holy building was-as indeed for its day it was-"exceeding magnifical of fame and of glory throughout all countries."

    In front of or just within the porch were two superb pillars, regarded as miracles of Tyrian art, made of fluted bronze, 27 feet high and 18 feet thick. Their capitals of 7 1/2 feet in height resembled an open lotus blossom, surrounded by double wreaths of two hundred pensile bronze pomegranates, supporting an abacus, carved with conventional lily work. Both pomegranates and lilies had a symbolic meaning. The pillars were, for unknown reasons, called Jachin and Boaz. Much about them is obscure. It is not even known whether they stood detached like obelisks, or formed Propylaea; or supported the architraves of the porch itself, or were a sort of gateway, surmounted by a melathron with two epithemas, like a Japanese or Indian toran. The porch (Olam), which was of the same height as the house (i.e. 45 feet high), was hung with the gilded shields of Hadadezer’s soldiers which David had taken in battle, and perhaps also with consecrated armor, like the sword of Goliath, {2 Samuel 8:7, 1 Chronicles 18:7} to show that "unto the Lord belongeth our shield," {Psalms 89:18} and that "the shields of the earth belong unto God." {Psalms 47:9} A door of cypress wood, of two leaves, made in four squares, 7 1/2 feet broad and high, turning on golden hinges overlaid with gold, and carved with palm branches and festoons of lilies and pomegranates, opened from the porch into the main apartment. This was the Mikdash, Holy Place, or Sanctuary, and sometimes specially called in Chaldee "the Palace" (Hekal, or Birah). {Ezra 5:14-15, etc.} Before it, as in the Tabernacle, hung an embroidered curtain (Masak). It was probably supported by four pillars on each side. In the interspaces were five tables on each side, overlaid with gold, and each encircled by a wreath of gold (zer). On these were placed the cakes of shewbread. At the end of the chamber, on each side the door of the Holiest, were five golden candlesticks with chains of wreathed gold hanging between them. In the center of the room stood the golden altar of incense, and somewhere (we must suppose) the golden candlestick of the Tabernacle, with its seven branches ornamented with lilies, pomegranates, and calices of almond flowers. Nothing which was in the darkness of the Holiest was visible except the projecting golden staves with which the Ark had been carried to its place. The Holy Place itself was lighted by narrow slits.

    The entrance to the Holiest, the Debir, or oracle, which corresponded to the Greek adytum, was through a two-leaved door of olive wood, 6 feet high and broad, overlaid with gold, and carved with palms, cherubim, and open flowers. The partition was of cedar wood. The floor of the whole house was of cedar overlaid with gold. The interior of this "Oracle," as it was called-for the title "Holy of Holies" is of later origin-was, at any rate in the later Temples, concealed by an embroidered veil of blue, purple, and crimson, looped up with golden chains. The Oracle, like the New Jerusalem of the Apocalypse, was a perfect cube, 30 feet broad and long and high, covered with gold, but shrouded in perpetual and unbroken darkness.

    No light was ever visible in it save such as was shed by the crimson gleam of the thurible of incense which the high priest carried into it once a year on the Great Day of Atonement. In the center of the floor must apparently have risen the mass of rock which is still visible in the Mosque of Omar, from which it is called Al Sakhra, "the Dome of the Rock." Tradition pointed to it as the spot on which Abraham had laid for sacrifice the body of his son Isaac, when the angel restrained the descending knife. It was also the site of Araunah’s threshing-floor, and had been. therefore hallowed by two angelic apparitions. On it was deposited with solemn ceremony the awful palladium of the Ark, which had been preserved through the wanderings and wars of the Exodus and the troublous days of the Judges. It contained the most sacred possession of the nation, the most priceless treasure which Israel guarded for the world. This treasure was the Two Tables of the Ten Commandments, graven (in the anthropomorphic language of the ancient record) by the actual finger of God; the tables which Moses had shattered on the rocks of Mount Sinai as he descended to the backsliding people. The Ark was covered with its old "Propitiatory," or "Mercy-seat," overshadowed by the wings of two small cherubim; but Solomon had prepared for its reception a new and far more magnificent covering, in the form of two colossal cherubim, 15 feet high, of which each expanded wing was 7 1/2 feet long. These wings touched the outer walls of the Oracle, and also touched each other over the center of the Ark.

    Such was the Temple.

    It was the "forum, fortress, university, and sanctuary" of the Jews, ‘and the transitory emblem of the Church of Christ’s kingdom. It was destined to occupy a large share in the memory, and even in the religious development, of the world, because it became the central point round which crystallized the entire history of the Chosen People. The kings of Judah are henceforth estimated with almost exclusive reference to the relation in which they stood to the centralized worship of Jehovah. The Spanish kings who built and decorated the Escurial caught the spirit of Jewish annals when, in the Court of the Kings, they reared the six colossal statues of David the originator, of Solomon the founder, of Jehoshaphat, Hezekiah, Josiah, and Manasseh ‘the restorers or purifiers of the Temple worship.

    It required the toil of 300, 000 men for twenty years to build one of the pyramids. It took two hundred years to build and four hundred to embellish the great Temple of Artemis of the Ephesians. It took more than five centuries to give to Westminster Abbey its present form. Solomon’s Temple only took seven and a half years to build; but, as we shall see, its objects were wholly different from those of the great shrines which we have mentioned. The wealth lavished upon it was such that its dishes, bowls, cups, even its snuffers and snuffer trays, and its meanest utensils, were of pure gold. The massiveness of its substructions, the splendor of its materials, the artistic skill displayed by the Tyrian workmen in all its details and adornments, added to the awful sense of its indwelling Deity, gave it an imperishable fame. Needing but little repair, it stood for more than four centuries. Succeeded as it was by the Temples of Zerubbabel and of Herod, it carried down till seventy years after the Christian era the memory of the Tabernacle in the wilderness, of which it preserved the general outline, though it exactly doubled all the proportions and admitted many innovations.

    The dedication ceremony was carried out with the utmost pomp. It required nearly a year to complete the necessary preparations, and the ceremony with its feasts occupied fourteen days; which were partly coincident with the autumn Feast of Tabernacles.

    The dedication falls into three great acts. The first was the removal of the Ark to its new home; {1 Kings 8:1-3} then followed the speech and the prayer of Solomon (1 Kings 8:12-61); and, finally, the great holocaust was offered (1 Kings 8:62-66).

    The old Tabernacle, or what remained of it, with its precious heirlooms, was carried by priests and Levites from the high place at Gibeon, which was henceforth abandoned. This procession was met by another, far more numerous and splendid, consisting of all the princes, nobles, and captains, which brought the Ark from the tent erected for it on Mount Zion by David forty years before.

    The Israelites had flocked to Jerusalem in countless multitudes, under their sheykhs and emirs from the border of Hamath on the Orontes, north of Mount Lebanon, to the Wady el-Areesh. The king, in his most regal state, accompanied the procession, and the Ark passed through myriads of worshippers crowded in the outer court, from the tent on Mount Zion into the darkness of the Oracle on Mount Moriah, where it continued, unseen perhaps by any human eye but that of the high priest once a year, until it was carried away by Nebuchadnezzar to Babylon. To indicate that this was to be its rest for ever, the staves, contrary to the old law, were drawn out of the golden rings through which they ran, in order that no human hand might touch the sacred emblem itself when it was borne on the shoulders of the Levitic priests. "And there they are unto this day," writes the compiler from his ancient record, long after Temple and Ark had ceased to exist.

    The king is the one predominant figure, and the high priest is not once mentioned. Nathan is only mentioned by the heathen historian Eupolemos. Visible to the whole vast multitude, Solomon stood in the inner court on a high scaffolding of brass. Then came a burst of music and psalmody from the priests and musicians, robed in white robes, who densely thronged the steps of the great altar. They held in their hands their glittering harps and cymbals, and psalteries in their precious frames of red sandal wood, and twelve of their number rent the air with the blast of their silver trumpets as Solomon, in this supreme hour of his prosperity, shone forth before his people in all his manly beauty.

    At the sight of that stately figure in its gorgeous robes the song of praise was swelled by innumerable voices, and, to crown all, a blaze of sudden glory wrapped the Temple and the whole scene in heaven’s own splendor. {2 Chronicles 5:13-14} First, the king, standing with his back to the people, broke out into a few words of prophetic song. Then, turning to the multitude, he blessed them-he, and not the high priest-and briefly told them the history and significance of this house of God, warning them faithfully that the Temple after all was but the emblem of God’s presence in the midst of them, and that the Most High dwelleth not in temples made with hands, neither is worshipped with men’s hands as though He needed anything. After this he advanced to the altar, and kneeling on his knees {2 Chronicles 6:13}-a most unusual attitude among the Jews, who, down to the latest ages, usually stood up to pray-he prayed with the palms of his hands upturned to heaven, as though to receive in deep humility its outpoured benefits. The prayer, as here given, consists of an introduction, seven petitions, and a conclusion. It was a passionate entreaty that God would hear, both individually and nationally, both in prosperity and in adversity, the supplications of His people, and even of strangers, Who should either pray in the courts of that His house, or should make it the Kibleh of their devotions.

    After the dedicatory prayer both the outer and the inner court of the Temple reeked and swam with the blood of countless victims-victims so numerous that the great brazen altar became wholly insufficient for them. At the close of the entire festival they departed to their homes with joy and gladness.

    But whatever the Temple might or might not be to the people, the king used it as his own chapel. Three times a year, we are told, he offered-and for all that appears, offered with his own hand without the intervention of any priest burnt offerings and peace offerings upon the altar. Not only this, but he actually "burnt incense therewith upon the altar which was before the Lord,"-the very thing which was regarded as so deadly a crime in the case of King Uzziah. Throughout the history of the monarchy, the priests, with scarcely any exception, seem to have been passive tools in the hands of the kings. Even under Rehoboam much more under Ahaz and Manasseh-the sacred precincts were defiled with nameless abominations, to which, so far as we know, the priests offered no resistance.

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    Bibliographical Information
    Nicoll, William R. "Commentary on 1 Kings 5:6". "Expositor's Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/teb/1-kings-5.html.

    The Pulpit Commentaries

    EXPOSITION

    SOLOMON AND HIRAM—The somewhat detailed description which we have had in 1 Kings 4:1-34. of Solomon's pomp and power and wisdom, is followed in 1 Kings 5:1-18. 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 1:1-14.]: 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 2:1-18; 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 [2 Samuel 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; 1:31) or possess" the land of the Giblites" (verse 5; 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; 1:31; 3:3; 1 Kings 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 31:1-18; 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, is 27 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; 1:29, 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. 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 is 23 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), 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.]

    HOMILETICS

    1 Kings 5:7-12

    compared with 1 Kings 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

    Sure Foundations.

    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—

    I. Christ.

    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 (Romans 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 5:2-6

    The Temple.

    Read also 2 Chronicles 2:1-10, 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" (1 Chronicles 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 16:37-39). 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 (2 Peter 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 3:1-23.) 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 5:7-12

    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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    These files are public domain.
    Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
    Bibliographical Information
    Exell, Joseph S; Spence-Jones, Henry Donald Maurice. "Commentary on 1 Kings 5:6". The Pulpit Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tpc/1-kings-5.html. 1897.

    Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

    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.
    cedar trees
    6:9,10,16,20; 2 Chronicles 2:8,10; Psalms 29:5
    will I give hire
    Romans 12:17; Philippians 4:8
    appoint
    Heb. say. that there is not.
    1 Corinthians 12:14-21; Ephesians 4:7
    Sidonians
    Genesis 10:15; Ezra 3:7
    Reciprocal: 1 Kings 9:11 - Now Hiram;  1 Kings 9:27 - his servants;  1 Chronicles 14:1 - and timber;  1 Chronicles 22:4 - cedar trees;  Psalm 74:5 - GeneralEzekiel 27:5 - cedars;  Ezekiel 27:8 - wise

    Copyright Statement
    These files are public domain.
    Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
    Bibliographical Information
    Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on 1 Kings 5:6". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/1-kings-5.html.

    Wesley's Explanatory Notes

    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.

    They — That is, thy servants. And this assistance which these Gentiles gave to the building of Solomon's temple, was a type of the calling of the Gentiles, and that they should be instrumental in building and constituting Christ's spiritual temple.

    Cedar-trees — Which for their soundness, and strength, and fragrancy, and durableness, were most proper for his design. Of these David had procured some, but not a sufficient number.

    Lebanon — Which was in Solomon's jurisdiction: and therefore he doth not desire that Hiram would give him the cedars, because they were his own already; but only that his servants might hew them for him; which the ingenious Tyrians well understood.

    With thy servants — Either to be employed therein as they shall direct; or to receive the cedars, from their hands, and transmit them to me.

    Hire — Pay them for their labour and art.

    Sidonians — Or Tyrians: for these places and people being near, are promiscuously used one for another.

    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
    Wesley, John. "Commentary on 1 Kings 5:6". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/1-kings-5.html. 1765.

    Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

    6.Cedar trees out of Lebanon — The cedars of Lebanon are the most celebrated of all the trees of Scripture, the monarchs of the vegetable kingdom. The prophets refer to them as emblems of greatness, majesty, and splendour. Ezekiel, in his prophecy, (chap 31,) presents us with a most graphic description of their grandeur and beauty when he makes them representatives of the Assyrian power and glory. The wood was used for beams, pillars, boards, masts of ships, and carved images. Not only did David and Solomon import it for their building purposes, but the kings of Assyria and Persia, and perhaps of other nations, did the same. This extensive use of the cedar of Lebanon makes it clear that in ancient times this mountain must have been largely covered with forests of this timber.

    At present only one considerable group, embosomed in a magnificent recess among the loftiest heights of the mountain, and which is generally known, has been often visited and described by travellers. Other groves, however, have been found in other less frequented parts of the mountain. The modern cedar of Lebanon is usually from fifty to eighty feet high, and often covers with its branches, when standing alone, a space the diameter of which is greater than the height of the tree. It is an evergreen, and its leaves are produced in tufts. Its branches, disposed in layers, spread out horizontally, and form, as they approach the top, a thick pyramidal head. All this corresponds closely with Ezekiel’s description, Ezekiel 31:3.

    The profane writers represent the cedar wood as specially noted for its durability, and the cedar roof of the great temple of Diana at Ephesus is said to have lasted four hundred years.

    Hew timber like unto the Sidonians — “The Sidonians,” writes Strabo, who lived about the time of Christ, “are said by historians to excel in various kinds of art, as the words of Homer also imply. Besides, they cultivate science and study astronomy and arithmetic. It is thought that geometry was introduced into Greece from Egypt, and astronomy and arithmetic from Phenicia. At present the best opportunities are afforded in these cities for acquiring a knowledge of these and of all other branches of philosophy.” On Zidon, or Sidon, see at Genesis 10:19, Joshua 11:8. כרת, here rendered to hew, means rather to cut down, or to fell. Merely for the felling and treatment of the timber great skill was required. According to Vitruvius, a contemporary of Julius Caesar, and author of a celebrated treatise on architecture, timber must be cut in the autumn or in the winter, when it is free from a moisture which is apt to make it rot, and it should be cut in such a manner as to allow the sap to distil away. It should never be exposed to a hot sun, high winds, or rain, nor drawn through the dew; and it should be in like manner guarded for three years before being used in building. Probably these and other similar precautions gave the Sidonians their fame for skill in felling timber.

    Copyright Statement
    These files are public domain.
    Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
    Bibliographical Information
    Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on 1 Kings 5:6". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/1-kings-5.html. 1874-1909.