1 Kings 5

CHAPTER V

Hiram, king of Tyre, sends to congratulate Solomon on his

accession to the kingdom, 1.

Solomon consults him on building a temple for the Lord, and

requests his assistance, 2-6.

Hiram is pleased and specifies the assistance which he will

afford, 7-9.

He sends cedars and fir trees, 10.

The return made by Solomon, 11.

They form a league, 12.

Solomon makes a levy of men in Israel to prepare wood and

stones, 13-18.

NOTES ON CHAP. V

Verse 1. Hiram king of Tyre] It must have been at the beginning

of Solomon's reign that these ambassadors were sent; and some

suppose that the Hiram mentioned here is different from him who

was the friend of David; but there seems no very solid reason for

this supposition. As Hiram had intimate alliance with David, and

built his palace, 2Sa 5:11, he wished to maintain the same good

understanding with his son, of whose wisdom he had no doubt heard

the most advantageous accounts; and he loved the son because he

always loved the father, for Hiram was ever a lover of David.

Verse 2. Solomon sent to Hiram] Made an interchange of

ambassadors and friendly greetings. Josephus tells us that the

correspondence between Hiram and Solomon was preserved in the

archives of the Tyrians even in his time. But this, like many

other assertions of the same author, is worthy of little credit.

Verse 4. There is neither adversary] eyn satan, there is

no satan-no opposer, nor any kind of evil; all is peace and quiet,

both without and within. God has given me this quiet that I may

build his temple. Deus nobis haec otia fecit.

Verse 5. A house unto the name of the Lord] The name of God is

God himself. I purpose to build a house to that infinite and

eternal Being called Jehovah.

Verse 6. Any that can skill to hew timber] An obsolete and

barbarous expression for any that know how to cut timber. They had

neither sawyers, carpenters, joiners, nor builders among them,

equal to the Sidonians. Sidon was a part of the territories of

Hiram, and its inhabitants appear to have been the most expert

workmen. It requires more skill to fell and prepare timber than is

generally supposed. Vitruvius gives some rules relative to this,

lib. ii., cap. 9, the sum of which is this: 1. Trees should be

felled in autumn, or in the winter, and in the wane of the moon;

for in this season the trees recover their vigour and solidity,

which was dispersed among their leaves, and exhausted by their

fruit, in spring and summer; they will then be free from a certain

moisture, very apt to engender worms and rot them, which in autumn

and winter is consumed and dried up. 2. Trees should not be cut

down at once; they should be cut carefully round towards the pith,

that the sap may drop down and distil away, and thus left till

thoroughly dry, and then cut down entirely. 3. When fully dried, a

tree should not be exposed to the south sun, high winds, and rain;

and should be smeared over with cow-dung to prevent its splitting.

4. It should never be drawn through the dew, but be removed in the

afternoon. 5. It is not fit for floors, doors, or windows, till it

has been felled three years. Perhaps these directions attended to,

would prevent the dry rot. And we see from them that there is

considerable skill required to hew timber, and in this the

Sidonians excelled. We do every thing in a hurry, and our building

is good for nothing.

Verse 7. Blessed be the Lord this day] From this, and indeed

from every part of Hiram's conduct, it is evident that he was a

worshipper of the true God; unless, as was the case with many of

the heathens, he supposed that every country had its own god, and

every god his own country, and he thanked the God of Israel that

he had given so wise a prince to govern those whom he considered

his friends and allies: but the first opinion seems to be the most

correct.

Verse 9. Shall bring them down from Lebanon unto the sea] As the

river Adonis was in the vicinity of the forest of Lebanon, and

emptied itself into the Mediterranean sea, near Biblos, Hiram

could transport the timber all squared, and not only cut to

scantling, but cut so as to occupy the place it was intended for

in the building, without any farther need of axe or saw. It might

be readily sent down the coast on rafts and landed at Joppa, or

Jamnia, just opposite to Jerusalem, at the distance of about

twenty-five miles. See 2Ch 2:16. The carriage could not be

great, as the timber was all fitted for the building where it was

hewn down. The materials had only to be put together when they

arrived at Jerusalem. See 1Ki 6:7.

Verse 11. And Solomon gave Hiram, &c.] The information in this

verse of the annual stipend paid to Hiram, is deficient, and must

be supplied out of 2Ch 2:10. Here

twenty thousand measures of wheat, and twenty measures of pure

oil, is all that is promised: there, twenty thousand measures of

beaten wheat, twenty thousand measures of barley, twenty thousand

baths of wine, and twenty thousand baths of oil, is the

stipulation; unless we suppose the first to be for Hiram's own

family, the latter for his workmen. Instead of twenty measures of

oil, the Syriac, Arabic, and Septuagint, have twenty thousand

measures, as in Chronicles. In 2 Chron., instead of cors of oil,

it is baths. The bath was a measure much less than the cor.

Verse 13. The levy was thirty thousand men.] We find from the

following verse that only ten thousand were employed at once, and

those only for one month at a time; and having rested two months,

they again resumed their labour. These were the persons over whom

Adoniram was superintendent, and were all Israelites.

Verse 15. Threescore and ten thousand that bare burdens] These

were all strangers, or proselytes, dwelling among the Israelites;

as we learn from the parallel place, 2Ch 2:17, 18.

Verse 16. Besides-three thousand and three hundred which ruled

over the people] In the parallel place, 2Ch 2:18, it is

three thousand six hundred. The Septuagint has here the same

number.

Verse 17. Great stones] Stones of very large dimensions.

Costly stones] Stones that cost much labour and time to cut them

out of the rock.

Hewed stones] Everywhere squared and polished.

Verse 18. And the stone-squarers] Instead of stone-squarers the

margin very properly reads Giblites, haggiblim; and

refers to Eze 27:9, where we find the inhabitants of

Gebal celebrated for their knowledge in ship-building. Some

suppose that these Giblites were the inhabitants of Biblos, at the

foot of Mount Libanus, northward of Sidon, on the coast of the

Mediterranean Sea; famous for its wines; and now called Gaeta.

Both Ptolemy and Stephanus Byzantinus speak of a town called

Gebala, to the east of Tyre: but this was different from Gebal,

or Biblos. It seems more natural to understand this of a people

than of stone-squarers, though most of the versions have adopted

this idea which we follow in the text.

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