Hiram assists Solomon
Solomon’s first task as king was the construction of the *temple at Jerusalem. This would be a splendid building to give honour to the *Lord. It would be the only proper place for *worship. And it would replace the tent of meeting that Moses made.
Solomon also had great plans of his own. He would build great palaces and halls in Jerusalem. He would make Jerusalem into a very rich city.
To carry out all these plans, Solomon needed a good supply of fine wood and stone. And he would need thousands of workmen. Solomon used his political skills to make the necessary arrangements.
v1 Hiram, king of Tyre, had always been a friend of David. He heard that Solomon had become king after his father. So he sent people with messages to him. v2 Solomon sent back a message to Hiram.v3 ‘You know that my father David had to fight continuous wars against enemies all round him. The *Lord had not yet given him success over his enemies. Therefore he could not build a *temple to give honour to the *Lord his God. v4 But now the *Lord my God has given me peace on all my borders. I have no enemies and nobody will attack me. v5 So I have decided to build a *temple to give honour to the *Lord my God. The *Lord promised this to my father David. “Your son, whom I will make king after you, will build a *temple for me.” v6 So please order your men to cut down *cedars of Lebanon for me. My men will work with yours. And I will pay your men whatever wages you decide. We do not have anybody who can cut down trees as well as the people in Sidon.’
Hiram had helped David before Solomon was born. Tyre was an important port on the coast to the north of *Israel. Hiram had helped David to build his palace. He had given him wood and he sent men to help him. God did not allow David to build a *temple. But he promised him that his son would build it (1 Chronicles 22:8-10). Solomon asked Hiram for help. He promised to pay him for this help.
v7 Hiram was very pleased when he heard Solomon’s message. He said, ‘I give honour to the *Lord today. He has given David a wise son to rule over this great nation.’
v8 So Hiram sent a message to Solomon. ‘I have received your message. And I will do everything that you asked. I will provide *cedar and *pine trees. v9 My men will bring them down from the Lebanon to the sea. And I will float them on rafts (flat boats) by sea to the place that you choose. Then I will unload them and you can take them away. I would like you to provide food for my men.’
v10 So Hiram gave to Solomon all the *cedar and *pine wood that he wanted. v11 Solomon gave to Hiram 2000 tons (2 million kilos) of wheat. He also gave 400 000 litres (100 000 gallons) of *olive oil. These were for food for his men. Solomon did this for Hiram every year. v12 The *Lord gave Solomon wisdom as he had promised him. There was peace between Hiram and Solomon. The two of them made an agreement of friendship.
Hiram agreed to do what Solomon had asked. In addition, he would send the wood by sea, probably to the port called Jaffa. There, Solomon’s men could take it over land to Jerusalem. Solomon supplied Hiram’s men with food as payment. The two kings made a *peace agreement.
v13 King Solomon made 30 000 men work for him. These men came from all over *Israel. v14 He divided them into groups of 10 000 men. They worked for one month in Lebanon and they spent two months back at home. Adoniram controlled them. v15 Solomon also had 80 000 people in the hills to cut stone and 70 000 people to carry it. v16 He had 3300 men to direct the work. v17 At the king’s command they cut large blocks of stone. These were for the foundation (the strong base) of the *temple. v18 Solomon’s and Hiram’s men worked together with men from the city called Byblos. They prepared the stones and wood to build the *temple.
Solomon arranged men to carry out the work. He shared the work among the men in a fair manner. And it seems that they were willing workers. Everyone was excited about the wonderful things that Solomon was doing. During David’s rule, the men had to fight in the army. But during Solomon’s rule, the country had peace. So the men were available for this task. Probably, they were very pleased to be able to build the *temple. It was a great honour to carry out this work for the *Lord.
People who were not *Israelites did some of the work. They cut and carried the stone. Some of this stone was 15 feet (4.5 metres) long. It needed many people to carry it. They used very good stone for the strong base of the *temple.
In Ephesians 2:20 Paul says that Christians are like a *temple. The foundation (strong base of a building) is like the instruction of the apostles and *prophets. (The apostles were the men who first took God’s message about Christ to people.) The most important foundation stone is like Jesus. God was present at the *temple. And God, by his *Spirit, lives in the lives of real Christians.