1 KINGS CHAPTER 5.
Preparations for Building the Temple.
SOLOMONíS 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 Solomonís 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, 2 Sam. 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, 2 Sam. 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, Hiramís 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, 2 Chron. 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 Solomonís 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.
ARRANGEMENTS CONCERNING MATERIAL. ó V.11. And Solomon gave Hiram twenty thousand measures of wheat, about 260,000 bushels, for food to his household, and twenty measures of pure oil, a little more than 1,600 gallons, this oil being obtained, not by pressing out the fruit, but by bruising the berries and then permitting the juice to run out freely. Thus gave Solomon to Hiram year by year, that was the price agreed upon by them. V.12. And the Lord gave Solomon wisdom, as He promised him, not only in concluding this contract in a satisfactory manner, but also in making wise and good provisions for every part of the immense undertaking. And there was peace between Hiram and Solomon; and they two made a league together, this alliance being to the advantage of the work undertaken by Solomon. V.13. And King Solomon raised a levy out of all Israel, he drafted a number of Israelites, members of the nation, for this work; and the levy was thirty thousand men. V.14. And he sent them to Lebanon, ten thousand a month by courses; a month they were in Lebanon, engaged in felling and transporting cedar-and cypress-trees, and two months at home, attending to the cultivation of their land; and Adoniram, the superintendent of public works, was over the levy. V.15. And Solomon had threescore and ten thousand that bare burdens, and fourscore thousand hewers in the mountains, men engaged in stone-cutting, these 150,000 servants being members of the Canaanitish, conquered races, v.16. beside the chief of Solomonís officers, the foremen placed over the workmen, which were over the work, three thousand and three hundred, which ruled over the people that wrought in the work. In the total number of overseers 250 were Israelites, and 300 were foreigners, 2 Chron. 8, 10. V.17. And the king commanded, and they brought great stones, costly stones, and hewed stones, immense, splendid stones, without a single flaw, to lay the foundation of the house, these being carefully shaped after being hewn out of the quarry. V.18. And Solomonís builders and Hiramís builders did hew them, and the stone-squarers, the Giblites, the inhabitants of a Phoenician town in the foothills of the Lebanon. So they prepared timber and stones to build the house, every piece receiving the proper treatment with reference to its place in the great building which was to be erected. The Church of Jesus Christ, the great Temple not made by hands, is an eternal house and kingdom. And all servants of Christ, all believers, have been called to assist in building this Temple, in extending the Church of God throughout all the world.