1 Kings 5:7
And it came to pass, when Hiram heard the words of Solomon, that he rejoiced greatly, and said, Blessed be the LORD this day, which hath given unto David a wise son over this great people.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(7) Blessed be the Lord.—Hiram’s answer is one of deference, still more clearly marked in 2Chronicles 2:12-16. His acknowledgment of Jehovah the God of Israel is a token rather of such deference to Israel, than of any acceptance of Him as the one true God.

1 Kings 5:7-8. He rejoiced greatly — Being a faithful friend to David and his house; and though it is not probable he was a sincere proselyte, yet he had received much information concerning the nature and excellence of the God of Israel, and had honourable thoughts of him. And Hiram sent to Solomon — A letter, 2 Chronicles 2:11. Timber of fir — The word which we translate fir, others think signifies pine, or cypress; but their conjecture is the most reasonable, who think it was a kind of cedar, and therefore comprehended under that name, 1 Kings 5:6, where Solomon desires of him only that his servants might hew him cedar-trees.

5:1-9 Here is Solomon's design to build a temple. There is no adversary, no Satan, so the word is; no instrument of Satan to oppose it, or to divert from it. Satan does all he can, to hinder temple work. When there is no evil abroad, then let us be ready and active in that which is good, and get forward. Let God's promises quicken our endeavours. And all outward skill and advantages should be made serviceable to the interests of Christ's kingdom. It Tyre supplies Israel with craftsmen, Israel will supply Tyre with corn, Eze 27:17. Thus, by the wise disposal of Providence, one country has need of another, and is benefitted by another, that there may be dependence on one another, to the glory of God.Solomon's message to Hiram and Hiram's answer 1 Kings 5:8-9 are given much more fully in 2 Chronicles 2:3-16.

Cedar-trees - The Hebrew word here and elsewhere translated "cedar," appears to be used, not only of the cedar proper, but of other timber-trees also, as the fir, and, perhaps, the juniper. Still there is no doubt that the real Lebanon cedar is most commonly intended by it. This tree, which still grows on parts of the mountain, but which threatens to die out, was probably much more widely spread anciently. The Tyrians made the masts of their ships from the wood Ezekiel 27:5, and would naturally be as careful to cultivate it as we have ourselves been to grow oak. The Assyrian kings, when they made their expeditions into Palestine, appear frequently to have cut it in Lebanon and Hermon, and to have transported it to their own capitals.

Skill to hew timber like unto the Sidonians - The mechanical genius and nautical skill of the Phoenicians generally, and of the Sidonians in particular, is noticed by Homer and Herodotus. In the reign of Hiram, Sidon, though perhaps she might have a king of her own, acknowledged the supremacy of Tyre.

1Ki 5:7-12. Furnishes Timber to Build the Temple.

7. Blessed be the Lord—This language is no decisive evidence that Hiram was a worshipper of the true God, as he might use it only on the polytheistic principle of acknowledging Jehovah as the God of the Hebrews (see on [295]2Ch 2:11).

He rejoiced greatly; being an ingenuous prince, a lover of excellency, and a faithful friend to David and to his house.

Blessed be the Lord; for though it be not probable that he was a sincere proselyte, because he did not endeavour the instruction of his people, and the extirpation of their gross idolatry, which by God’s blessing and Solomen’s help he might easily have effected; yet he had sufficient information concerning the nature and excellency of the God of Israel, and had honourable thoughts of him, as also divers other heathens had, 1 Samuel 4:8 Daniel 6:16; /APC 2Ma 3:3.

And it came to pass, when Hiram heard the words of Solomon,.... The letter read he sent him:

that he rejoiced greatly; that the friendship which had subsisted between him and David was like to be continued between him and his successor, but chiefly for what follows:

saying, blessed be the Lord this day; or Jehovah, by which he seems to have some knowledge of the true God, the God of Israel, and might worship him, though along with him other deities, as some Heathen princes did:

which hath given unto David a wise son over this great people; which he perceived by the letter he sent him, and by his solicitous concern to build an house for the worship and honour of God, and by various other things which his ambassadors reported to him they had seen and heard in Solomon's court.

And it came to pass, when {c} Hiram heard the words of Solomon, that he rejoiced greatly, and said, Blessed be the LORD this day, which hath given unto David a wise son over this great people.

(c) In Hiram is prefigured the calling of the Gentiles who would help build the spiritual temple.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
7. he rejoiced greatly] For the alliance thus offered to him was that of the mightiest prince of all those round about.

Blessed be the Lord] Hiram here uses the name of Jehovah in such wise as to shew that he acknowledged him as a true god, but probably only in the sense of being the national god of Israel, as Melcarth was of the Zidonians. Cf. the queen of Sheba’s words of the same kind in 1 Kings 10:9. In the words of Hiram as given in 2 Chronicles 1:12, Jehovah is said to be the Maker of heaven and earth. If this were really Hiram’s language he must have identified Jehovah with his own supreme divinity. Of course it was no difficulty for a heathen to add the name of another divinity to his list of gods. Melchizedek (Genesis 14:19) speaks of ‘God Most High, possessor of heaven and earth’; and though not a heathen, he was outside the chosen race.

Verse 7. - And It came to pass, when Hiram heard the words of Solomon [reported by his ambassadors], that he rejoiced greatly [see note on ver. 1. The continuance of the entente cordiale was ensured], and said, Blessed be the Lord [In 2 Chronicles 2:12, "Blessed be the Lord God of Israel that made heaven and earth." We are not warranted by the expression of the text in concluding that Hiram believed in the exclusive divinity of the God of Israel, or "identified Jehovah with Melkarth his god" (Rawlinson), much less that he was proselyte to the faith of David and Solomon. All that is certain is that he believed the Jehovah as God was quite compatible with the retention of a firm faith in Baa1 and Astarte. It is also possible that he here adopts a language which he knew would be acceptable to Solomon, or the historian may have given us his thoughts in a Hebrew dread It is noticeable that the LXX. has simply εὐλογητὸς ὁ θεὸς] which hath given unto David a wise son [Compare 1 Kings 1:48; 1 Kings 2:9. The proof of wisdom lay in Solomon's fulfilling his wise father's purposes, and in his care for the worship of God. "Wise," however, is not used here in the sense of "pious," as Bahr affirms. In Hiram's lips the word meant discreet, sagacious. He would hardly recognize the fear of the Lord as the beginning of wisdom] over this great people. 1 Kings 5:7"And now command that they fell me cedars from Lebanon." We may see from 1 Kings 5:8 that Solomon had also asked for cypresses; and according to the parallel passage 2 Chronicles 2:6., he had asked for a skilful artist, which is passed over here, so that it is only in 1 Kings 7:13-14 that we find a supplementary notice that Hiram had sent one. It is evident from this request, that that portion of Lebanon on which the cedars suitable for building wood grew, belonged to the kingdom of Hiram. The cedar forest, which has been celebrated from very ancient times, was situated at least two days' journey to the north of Beirut, near the northernmost and loftiest summits of the range, by the village of Bjerreh, to the north of the road which leads to Baalbek and not far to the east of the convent of Canobin, the seat of the patriarch of the Maronites, although Seetzen, the American missionaries, and Professor Ehrenberg found cedars and cedar groves in other places on northern Lebanon (see Rob. Pal. iii. 440,441, and Bibl. Res. pp. 588ff.). The northern frontier of Canaan did not reach as far as Bjerreh (see at Numbers 34:8-9). "My servants shall be with thy servants," i.e., shall help them in the felling of the wood. "And the wages of thy servants will I give to thee altogether as thou sayest." "For thou knowest that no one among us is skilful in felling trees like the Sidonians." This refers to the knowledge of the most suitable trees, of the right time for felling, and of the proper treatment of the wood. The expression Sidonians stands for Phoenicians generally, since Sidon was formerly more powerful than Tyre, and that portion of Lebanon which produced the cedars belonged to the district of Sidon. The inhabitants of Sidon were celebrated from time immemorial as skilful builders, and well versed in mechanical arts (compare Rob. Pal. iii. 421ff., and Movers, Phoenizier, ii. 1, pp. 86ff.).

Hiram rejoiced exceedingly at this proposal on the part of Solomon, and praised Jehovah for having given David so wise a son as his successor (1 Kings 7:7). It must have been a matter of great importance to the king of Tyre to remain on good terms with Israel, because the land of Israel was a granary for the Phoenicians, and friendship with such a neighbour would necessarily tend greatly to promote the interests of the Phoenician commerce. The praise of Jehovah on the part of Hiram does not presuppose a full recognition of Jehovah as the only true God, but simply that Hiram regarded the God of Israel as being as real a God as his own deities. Hiram expresses a fuller acknowledgment of Jehovah in 2 Chronicles 2:11, where he calls Jehovah the Creator of heaven and earth; which may be explained, however, from Hiram's entering into the religious notions of the Israelites, and does not necessarily involve his own personal belief in the true deity of Jehovah.

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