1 Kings 5


‘When Hiram king of Tyre heard that Solomon had been anointed king to succeed his father David, he sent his envoys to Solomon, because he had always been on friendly terms with David. Solomon sent back this message to Hiram: ‘You know that because of the wars waged against my father David from all sides, he could not build a temple for the Name of the LORD his God until the LORD put his enemies under his feet. But now the LORD my God has given me rest on every side, and there is no adversary or disaster. I intend, therefore, to build a temple for the Name of the LORD my God, as the LORD told my father David, when he said, ‘Your son whom I will put on the throne in your place will build the temple for my Name.’ ‘So give orders that cedars of Lebanon be cut for me. My men will work with yours, and I will pay you for your men whatever wages you set. You know that we have no one so skilled in felling timber as the Sidonians.’ 1 Kings 5:1-6

Preparations For Building The Temple

Hiram, king of Tyre sent envoys to Solomon because he heard Solomon had become king. Solomon then sends a message back to him, informing him of his intentions to build a temple, 2 Chronicles 2:1-18.

Remember this idea of a temple being built came from David because he felt guilt about living in a lavish house, 2 Samuel 7:2 and Nathan the prophet told him to do what his heart’s desire was. We must understand that his statement to David wasn’t from God, it was his own thoughts on the matter.

That same night, God spoke to David and asks him, ‘are you the one to build me a house to dwell in?’, 2 Samuel 7:5. God then proceeds to rebuke David for his suggestion to build a physical structure for the ark, God says, ‘I have not dwelt in a house from the day I brought the Israelites up out of Egypt to this day. I have been moving from place to place with a tent as my dwelling,’ 2 Samuel 7:6.

Even though the tabernacle moved around among the twelve tribes of Israel for over four hundred years, never once did God ask for a permanent house for the ark of the covenant to reside in, 2 Samuel 7:7.

Yes, God allowed the temple to be built, and yes, God allowed His people to worship Him within it, but we mustn’t lose sight of the fact, that God never desired or commanded for a temple to be built in the first place, 2 Samuel 7:4-7.

God never commanded David or Solomon to build him a house. If the temple was God’s desire, then why would He allow it to be destroyed twice, once by the Babylonian and again in AD 7o by the Romans?

The problem with a temple is that God doesn’t dwell in any temple made by human hands, Acts 7:39. The temple of Solomon became the centre of pagan worship, Ezekiel 8, and that prophet recorded the departure of God’s Spirit from it, Ezekiel 10-11.

When we read the Book of Malachi, we read that God is urging them to build the temple, so what made the temple so important during the time of Malachi?

I guess all the proper sacrifices and rituals could be carried out on a makeshift altar. But could it be that God’s reputation was at stake? Could it be that God could not be properly honoured so long as the house he called home lay in ruins?

Could it be that the temple symbolised God’s presence, and Israel’s priorities? Could it be that, God rebuked them so sternly, to make them think about the situation? Could it be that, God is so upset and then punished them, to get their attention?

Notice what Solomon says to Hiram, king of Tyre in order to make an alliance with him, He says, ‘my men will work with yours, and I will pay you for your men whatever wages you set.’

Later in 1 Kings 5:11, we read that Solomon gave him, twenty thousand cors of wheat as food for his household, that is roughly 3,600 tons, and twenty thousand baths of pressed olive oil, that is roughly 120,000 gallons.

It’s not surprising to find out later that Solomon apparently went bankrupt and had to give up part of his territory to settle the debt.

‘When Hiram heard Solomon’s message, he was greatly pleased and said, ‘Praise be to the LORD today, for he has given David a wise son to rule over this great nation.’ So Hiram sent word to Solomon: ‘I have received the message you sent me and will do all you want in providing the cedar and juniper logs. My men will haul them down from Lebanon to the Mediterranean Sea, and I will float them as rafts by sea to the place you specify. There I will separate them and you can take them away. And you are to grant my wish by providing food for my royal household.’ In this way Hiram kept Solomon supplied with all the cedar and juniper logs he wanted, and Solomon gave Hiram twenty thousand cors of wheat as food for his household, in addition to twenty thousand baths of pressed olive oil. Solomon continued to do this for Hiram year after year. The LORD gave Solomon wisdom, just as he had promised him. There were peaceful relations between Hiram and Solomon, and the two of them made a treaty. King Solomon conscripted laborers from all Israel—thirty thousand men. He sent them off to Lebanon in shifts of ten thousand a month, so that they spent one month in Lebanon and two months at home. Adoniram was in charge of the forced labour. Solomon had seventy thousand carriers and eighty thousand stonecutters in the hills, as well as thirty-three hundred foremen who supervised the project and directed the workers. At the king’s command they removed from the quarry large blocks of high-grade stone to provide a foundation of dressed stone for the temple. The craftsmen of Solomon and Hiram and workers from Byblos cut and prepared the timber and stone for the building of the temple.’ 1 Kings 5:7-18

Hiram had a reputation of being a great leader who conquered many nations, and even before he became king, the cedars of Lebanon were famous for being a great building material.

When word got back to Hiram, there’s no doubt that Hiram was more than happy with Solomon’s request for trees, because the alliance which Solomon made with Hiram had advantages to both nations, in the days of Solomon, the Phoenicians kept corn in large storerooms in north Palestine, Acts 12:20, and Solomon controlled the trade routes both from the East and from Egypt.

Solomon wanted Hiram to produce enough timber from the cedars of Lebanon, so he could built the temple. Hiram agreed to bring the timber down by river and bring it to the harbour at Joppa, 2 Chronicles 2:16.

We read that Solomon gave him, twenty thousand cors of wheat as food for his household, that is roughly 3,600 tons, and twenty thousand baths of pressed olive oil, that is roughly 120,000 gallons. This is a huge annual payment and it doesn’t even include the huge expenses for the slaves and those who were forced labourers who were sent to Lebanon, 2 Chronicles 2:10.

After agreeing the terms and conditions, Solomon and Hiram entered into a treaty. This treaty would involve marrying a foreign woman, which as we know was the beginning of Solomon’s downfall as king, 1 Kings 11:1 / 1 Kings 11:4-5.

Solomon recruited thirty thousand labourers from Israel, these were men who were able to work and forced to work one month in Lebanon and two months at home through the year. This type of forced labour was first introduced in Israel by David, 2 Samuel 20:24.

Notice that ‘Adoniram was in charge of the forced labour’, 1 Kings 4:6, his name was Adoram, when David reigned, 2 Samuel 20:24, and he was in charge of the tax, and as a result, everyone in Israel hated him, 1 Kings 12:18. There were ‘seventy thousand carriers and eighty thousand stonecutters’ and ‘thirty-three hundred foremen’, 2 Chronicles 2:18.

Solomon’s men and Hiram’s men worked together to cut and prepare the timber and cut and prepared the stones for the building of the temple. It’s worth noting that Hiram’s men were Canaanites, whom Israel was supposed to drive out from the land, but failed to do so, Joshua 1:29 / Joshua 13:13.

Now the Canaanites are helping Israel build this temple and I’m sure that good relationships would have been made during this time of preparation, sadly, the Canaanites would influence Israel not only with their culture but also with their religion. Even Solomon himself would fall into the hands of worshipping false gods because the nations around him were doing so, along with his many wives.

Go To 1 Kings 6


"Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart."