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Solomon’s request of Hiram 5:1-6
Hiram probably reigned from about 980-947 B.C. [Note: Frank M. Cross, "An Interpretation of the Nora Stone," Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research 208 (December 1972):17. Cf. Merrill, p. 239.] Many scholars agree that his reign overlapped David’s by about nine years and Solomon’s by about 24 (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.
1. Preparations for building ch. 5
Solomon’s treaty with Hiram 5:7-12
The fact that Hiram cooperated with and even blessed Yahweh (1 Kings 5:7) shows how God brought blessing to Gentiles as well as to the Israelites through David and Solomon’s godly dedication to the Lord. The covenant between Israel and Phoenicia (1 Kings 5:12) resulted in peace for many years.
"Sometimes Solomon has been criticized for entering into such an agreement with an unbelieving pagan like Hiram. Scripture says, ’Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers’ (2 Corinthians 6:14). The principle does not apply in this case, however. Solomon did not join in a partnership with Hiram to build the temple. Solomon built it and merely purchased material and hired workers from Hiram." [Note: Wood, p. 312.]
Solomon’s conscription of laborers 5:13-18
Solomon’s forced laborers were non-Israelites (2 Chronicles 8:7-8). Israelites also served, but they were not slaves (1 Kings 9:22). Solomon’s method of providing workers for state projects became very distasteful to the people eventually, perhaps because of how it was administered (cf. 1 Kings 12:18).
"[Adoniram, also known as Hadoram, 2 Chronicles 10:18] was probably one of the most hated men in Israel, an embodiment of autocracy." [Note: J. Barton Payne, "Second Chronicles," in The Wycliffe Bible Commentary, p. 399. Cf. 1 Kings 4:6.]
Solomon’s temple rested on massive limestone blocks that he had quarried out of the hills north of Jerusalem (1 Kings 5:17). The Gebelites (1 Kings 5:18) lived in Byblos, 13 miles north of modern Beirut and 60 miles north of Tyre.
The main emphasis in this chapter is on the favorable response of the Phoenician king, Hiram, with which God blessed Israel through Solomon’s wisdom (1 Kings 5:7). Solomon wrote that "when a person’s ways please the Lord, He makes even his enemies to be at peace with him" (Proverbs 16:7). Such was God’s blessing on Solomon at this time.
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Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on 1 Kings 5". "Dr. Constable's Expository Notes". https://studylight.org/
the Week of Christ the King / Proper 29 / Ordinary 34