3 Kings v.
Notes & Commentary:
Ver. 1. Hiram. Josephus says, that the temple was built in the 11th year of this prince. He must therefore have been the son of David’s friend, as the former had sent artificers to build David’s house, (2 Kings v. 11.; Calmet) above 30 years before. But there may be a mistake in the number, as the Scripture evidently speaks of the same king; and Josephus had said before, “Hiram rejoiced exceedingly that Solomon had succeeded to the throne; (for he had been the friend of David) and he sent ambassadors to congratulate with him on his present felicity, by whom Solomon wrote,” &c. The mutual letters of these kings were still preserved in the archives of Tyre; and this author confidently appeals to them, as he deems it “impious to insert any fiction” in his history. (Josephus, Antiquities viii. 2.) He quotes Dius and Menander; who asserted, that these princes proposed enigmas to each other; and that Hiram was obliged to pay a large sum of money, as he could not explain that which Solomon had proposed, &c. (Josephus, contra Apion i.) (Haydock)
Ver. 3. Wars. Many interpreters assert that this was the real impediment, (Tostat; Salien, &c.) rather than the blood, which David had already spilt, 2 Kings vii., and 1 Paralipomenon xxii. 8.
Ver. 4. Adversary. Literally, “Satan.” Adad of Idumea, and another of Syria, and Jeroboam, began to molest Solomon, only towards the end of his reign, chap. xi. 25.
Ver. 6. 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)
Ver. 7. Lord (Jehova) God “of Israel,” as it is expressed, 2 Paralipomenon ii. 12. (Haydock) — This pagan prince adored and erected temples and altars in honour of Baal, Astarte, and Hercules; (Josephus, &c.) yet he did not hesitate to acknowledge the God of Israel, as he supposed that there was a god for each nation. See chap. xx. 28., and 4 Kings xvii. 27. (Calemt) — Thus many think that they may serve the God of unity, by going to hear the sermons of men who preach a contradictory doctrine. The devil will be satisfied, if he can share the divine honours: but God will admit of no rival, nor can he sanction any but the true religion. (Haydock)
Ver. 8. Fir-trees. Some take these to be another species of cedars, as they say fir is too slender and corruptible; (Martin, &c.) and Solomon had not asked for it, ver. 6.; though he does in 2 Paralipomenon ii. 8, where (Haydock) the word is translated archeuthina, “juniper-trees,” by the Septuagint and St. Jerome. (Calmet) — Beroshim, is rendered fir-trees by Pagnin; box or cedars, &c., by others. The precise import of the Hebrew names of plants, animals, &c., is not sufficiently known. (Menochius) — Fir is use by the best architects. (Virtuvius, ii. 9.) (Calmet)
Ver. 9. There. Joppe was fixed upon, as the port nearest Jerusalem, 2 Paralipomenon ii. 16. The trees were squared and rolled, (Calmet) or dragged (Haydock) from the mountain-top to the river Adonis, or the plain of Biblos, and then sent in floats by sea. (Calmet) — Household, for the workmen employed in cutting the wood; (2 Paralipomenon; Menochius) and also for Hiram’s other servants, as the kings of the East paid them not with money. (Calmet) — The Tyrians neglected agriculture. (Servius)
Ver. 11. Wheat, “ground or beaten.” (Hebrew; Paralipomenon) (Haydock) — By comparing this passage with chap. iv. 22, we may see how much the court of Solomon surpassed that of Hiram. The former consumed 90 measures of flour a day; and 20,000 of wheat sufficed for the Tyrian prince’s family a whole year. — Twenty. It is supposed by many commentators that thousand is to be supplied from the former sentence; as there seems otherwise to be no proportion between the wheat and the oil. (Piscator, &c.) — The Septuagint, Syriac, &c., read 20,000. (Calmet) — The Alexandrian copy has not core, but only beth, (Haydock) or “bath,” which is a smaller measure, containing 29 pints and something more, (Calmet) or seven gallons, four pints, English wine measure; whereas the core, or chomer, consisted of 75 gallons, five pints. (Arbuthnot) (Haydock) — In Paralipomenon, the workmen have 20,000 cores of wheat, and also of barley, and as many baths of wine and of oil; which bear some proportion with each other. (Calmet)
Ver. 14. Levy, or tribute. The men had only to procure stones, as the Tyrians had engaged to do all which regarded the wood. (Calmet) — These were Israelites. (Menochius)
Ver. 15. Mountain of Libanus. (Calmet) — Paralipomenon mountains: but the Hebrew is singular in both places. They were all proselytes or strangers.
Ver. 16. Three hundred. In 2 Paralipomenon (ii. 2., and 18,) we read six hundred; (Haydock) as there are 300 superior officers included. (Calmet) (Menochius) (Sa, &c.) — But these 3600 are all overseers. (Haydock)
Ver. 17. Foundation, which did not appear. (Calmet) — What sort would, therefore, be chosen for the most conspicuous parts of the temple? (Haydock)
Ver. 18. Giblians. Ezechiel (xxvii. 9,) commends them for building ships. Giblos of Gebal is supposed to be the town, which profane authors style Biblos, at the foot of Libanus. Ptolemy also mentions Gabala, to the east of Tyre. (Calmet)
Bible Text & Cross-references:
Hiram, king of Tyre, agreeth to furnish timber and workmen for building the temple: the number of workmen and overseers.
1 And* Hiram, king of Tyre, sent his servants to Solomon: for he heard that they had anointed him king in the room of his father: for Hiram had always been David’s friend.
2 And Solomon sent to Hiram, saying:
3 Thou knowest the will of David, my father, and that he could not build a house to the name of the Lord his God, because of the wars that were round about him, until the Lord put them under the soles of his feet.
4 But now the Lord my God hath given me rest round about; and there is no adversary nor evil occurrence.
5 Wherefore I purpose to build a temple to the name of the Lord my God, as the Lord spoke to David, my father, saying: *Thy son, whom I will set upon the throne, in thy place, he shall build a house to my name.
6 Give orders, therefore, that thy servants cut me down cedar-trees, out of Libanus, and let my servants be with thy servants: and I will give thee the hire of thy servants whatsoever thou wilt ask: for thou knowest how there is not among my people a man that has skill to hew wood like to the Sidonians.
7 Now when Hiram had heard the words of Solomon, he rejoiced exceedingly, and said: Blessed be the Lord God this day, who hath given to David a very wise son over this numerous people.
8 And Hiram sent to Solomon, saying: I have heard all thou hast desired of me; and I will do all thy desire concerning cedar-trees, and fir-trees.
9 My servants shall bring them down from Libanus to the sea: and I will put them together in floats, on the sea, and convey them to the place, which thou shalt signify to me; and will land them there, and thou shalt receive them: and thou shalt allow me necessaries to furnish food for my household.
10 So Hiram gave Solomon cedar-trees, and fir-trees, according to all his desire.
11 And Solomon allowed Hiram twenty thousand measures of wheat, for provision for his house, and twenty measures of the purest oil: thus gave Solomon to Hiram every year.
12 *And the Lord gave wisdom to Solomon, as he promised him: and there was peace between Hiram and Solomon, and they two made a league together.
13 And king Solomon chose workmen out of all Israel, and the levy was of thirty thousand men.
14 And he sent them to Libanus, ten thousand every month, by turns, so that two months they were at home: and Adoniram was over this levy.
15 And Solomon had seventy thousand to carry burdens, and eighty thousand to hew stones in the mountain:
16 Besides the overseers who were over every work, in number three thousand and three hundred, that ruled over the people, and them that did the work.
17 And the king commanded that they should bring great stones, costly stones, for the foundation of the temple, and should square them:
18 And the masons of Solomon, and the masons of Hiram, hewed them: and the Giblians prepared timber and stones to build the house.
1: Year of the World 2992, Year before Christ 1012.
5: 2 Kings vii. 13.; 1 Paralipomenon xxii. 10.
12: 3 Kings iii. 12.