1 Kings 5:9
My servants shall bring them down from Lebanon to the sea: and I will convey them by sea in floats to the place that you shall appoint me, and will cause them to be discharged there, and you shall receive them: and you shall accomplish my desire, in giving food for my household.
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(9) Shall bring them.—The timber was to be carried down, or, perhaps, let down on slides along the face of the mountain towards the sea, and brought round by rafts to Joppa (2Chronicles 2:16), to save the enormous cost and difficulty of land carriage. The grant of “food for his household” in return (instead of “hire”) brings out that which is recorded so many ages afterwards in Acts 12:20—that the country of the Tyrians was “nourished” by Palestine. The commerce and wealth of the Tyrians collected a large population; the narrow slip of land along the coast, backed by Lebanon, must have been, in any case, insufficient to maintain them; and, moreover, all their energies were turned, not to agriculture, but to seamanship. In the grand description in Ezekiel 27 of the imports of Tyre from all parts of the world, Judah and Israel are named as supplying “wheat, and honey, and oil, and balm.”

1 Kings 5:9. From Lebanon unto the sea — The Mediterranean sea, on which his city stood. I will convey them — in floats — Or rafts. It is thought the pieces of timber were tied together in the water, as now is usual, and so, by the help of boats or ships, conveyed to the appointed place, which was at no great distance. Unto the place thou shalt appoint me — Which was Joppa, a famous seaport in the country of Israel, 2 Chronicles 2:16. Will cause them to be discharged there — Hebrew, dispersed, or dissolved; which implies that they were tied together. In giving food for my household — My family and court; which, most properly, is called his household. Though they had plenty of money, being great merchants, yet they wanted corn and other provisions: and in after times, it appears, they were supported by provisions from Judea, Acts 12:20.5:1-9 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.See the marginal reference. The timber was first carried westward from the flanks of Lebanon to the nearest part of the coast, where it was collected into floats, or rafts, which were then conveyed southward along the coast to Joppa, now Jaffa, from where the land journey to Jerusalem was not more than about forty miles. A similar course was taken on the building of the second temple Ezra 3:7.

Food for my household - The Phoenician cities had very little arable territory of their own, the mountain range of Lebanon rising rapidly behind them; and they must always have imported the chief part of their sustenance from abroad. They seem commonly to have derived it from Judaea (marginal references). Hiram agreed now to accept for his timber and for the services of his workmen 1 Kings 5:6 a certain annual payment of grain and oil, both of them the best of their kind, for the sustentation of his court. This payment was entirely distinct from the supplies furnished to the workmen (marginal reference "l").

8. Hiram sent to Solomon, saying, I have considered the things … and I will do—The contract was drawn out formally in a written document (2Ch 2:11), which, according to Josephus, was preserved both in the Jewish and Tyrian records. Unto the sea; the midland sea.

In floats, or ships, or rafts. It is thought the timbers were tied together in the water, as now it is usual, and so by the help of boats or ships conveyed to the appointed place, which was at no great distance.

Unto the place that thou shalt appoint me; which was Joppa, 2 Chronicles 2:16, a town upon the sea, Joshua 19:46 Acts 9:43.

Discharged, Heb. dispersed, or dissolved; which implies that they were tied together.

Food for my household, i.e. either, first, My kingdom or people; for the word house or family is sometimes used for a nation or people, as Judges 13:2 18:11 Zechariah 12:13 14:18. The reason of this desire is, because the country belonging to Tyre and Sidon was very barren, and the people there being very numerous, depended upon Solomon’s country for relief, as is manifest from Acts 12:20: compare Ezra 3:7 Ezekiel 27:17. And this relief or provisions Hiram doth not desire to be freely given to him, but to be sold to him and his people at a reasonable rate, as Josephus reports it. Or, secondly, My servants employed in the work, as it is expressed, 2 Chronicles 2:15; though divers, both Jewish and Christian, interpreters conceive that this and that are differing accounts; and that here he speaks of the recompence which was given to Hiram himself, and to his house, for the materials which were taken out of his territories; and in 2Ch 2 of what was given to his servants for their labour. Or, thirdly, My royal family and court, which most properly is called his house. My servants shall bring them down from Lebanon unto the sea,.... The Mediterranean sea, on which Tyre stood:

and I will convey them by sea in floats; which were either a sort of carriage for the timber the Tyrians and Sidonians had, being furnished with various navigable vessels; or these were the timber itself, and the planks of it, which being fastened together, were set afloat under the direction of some boats with oars, of which they had plenty:

unto the place that thou shalt appoint me; which was Joppa, as appears from 2 Chronicles 2:16; belonging to the land of Israel, in the same sea:

and will cause them to be discharged there; either to be unloaded from the vessels, or to be unloosed and taken up separately:

and thou shalt receive them; by his servants appointed there to bring them to Jerusalem, which was forty miles from Joppa:

and thou shalt accomplish my desire in giving food for my household; signifying, that all that he desired in return was, that he would supply him with corn or wheat, which he stood in need of, and his letter in Josephus (d) expresses; and we find in later times this place was supplied with bread corn from Judea, see Ezra 3:7 Acts 12:20.

(d) Ut supra. (Antiqu. l. 8. c. 2. sect. 8.)

My servants shall bring them down from Lebanon unto the sea: and I will convey them by sea in floats unto the place that thou shalt appoint me, and will cause them to be discharged there, and thou shalt receive them: and thou shalt accomplish my desire, in giving food for {d} my household.

(d) While my servants are occupied with your business.

9. from Lebanon unto the sea] Providing for the shortest land passage down the side of the mountain and to the coast of the Mediterranean. Probably Sidon itself would be as convenient a place as any to which to bring the timber down. We learn from Josephus (c. Apion i. 18) that Hiram was quite experienced in this work. On his accession he had done much for the adornment of Tyre, especially in its sacred buildings and it is said of him ὕλην ξύλων ἀπελθὼν ἔκοψεν ἀπὸ τοῦ λεγομένου ὄρους Λιβάνου, κέδρινα ξύλα εἰς τὰς τῶν ἱερῶν στέγας, καθελών τε τὰ ἀρξαῖα ἱερὰ καινοὺς (sic) ᾠκοδόμησε.

in flotes] There is no preposition in the original. The idea probably would be more nearly expressed by ‘as flotes.’ R.V. I will make them into rafts to go by sea. The flotes would be made of the trees fastened side by side, and formed into long raftlike structures, somewhat like those which may be seen often on the Rhine, sent down from Switzerland. Such flotes would keep close to the shore and be anchored at night. In this way they might easily be brought along the coasts of Phœnicia and the Holy Land.

unto the place] The Chronicler (2 Chronicles 2:16) makes mention of the name, Joppa. This would be the most convenient port for Jerusalem, and at that point the wood was to be delivered to Solomon’s officers. The compiler of the Kings of course knew where the timber had been delivered, but as it was not recorded in his authority he made no mention of it.

thou shalt appoint] The word is not the same as that so rendered in 1 Kings 5:6. The literal sense is ‘to send’ but it is often used of ‘sending a message’ without the addition of any object. Thus in 1 Kings 21:11, ‘They did as Jezebel had sent unto them.’ Cf. 2 Kings 16:11.

thou shalt accomplish my desire] Josephus explains why a supply of such provisions as Solomon proposed to give would be most acceptable to the Tyrian monarch, making him say in his letter, ὅπως δὲ καὶ σὺ παράσχῃς ἡμῖν ἀντὶ τούτων σῖτον, οὗ διὰ τὸ νῆσον οἰκεῖν δεόμεθα, φρόντισον. The Tyrians were a maritime people, living on an island near a mountainous shore, and so with no chance of getting food supplies from their own land.Verse 9. - My servants shall bring them [No word in the Hebrew; "Timber of Cedar," etc., must be supplied or understood from the preceding verse] down [It is generally a steep descent from the cedar grove, and indeed all the Lebanon district, to the coast] from Lebanon unto the sea [This must have been a great undertaking. The cedars are ten hours distant from Tripoli, and the road must always have been a bad one. ("What a road it is for mortals. In some spots it seems to have been intended for mountain goats only ..... It winds up sublime glens, and zigzags up rocky acclivities, and passes over stone-strewn terraces," etc. (Porter, Handbook, p. 583.) To the writer it appeared to be the most rugged and dangerous road in Palestine. It is possible that the timber was collected and floated at Gebal (Biblus. See note on ver. 18). Beyrout, the present port of the Lebanon, is 27 hours distant via Tripoli. But cedars would then, no doubt, be found nearer the sea. And the ancients (as the stones of Baalbek, etc., prove) were not altogether deficient in mechanical appliances. The transport of cedars to the Mediterranean would be an easy undertaking compared with the carriage of them to Nineveh, and we know from the inscriptions that they were imported by the Assyrian kings] and I will convey them by sea in floats [Heb. "I will make (or put) them rafts in the sea." This was the primitive, as it was the obvious, way, of conveying timber, among Greeks and Romans, as well as among Eastern races. The reader will probably have seen such rafts on the Rhine or other river] unto the place which thou shalt appoint [Heb. send] me [In 2 Chronicles 2:16, Hiram assumes that this place will be Joppa, now Yafo, the port of Jerusalem, and 40 miles distant from the Holy City. The transport over these 40 miles, also of most rugged and trying road, must have involved, if possible, a still greater toil than that from Lebanon to the sea] and will cause them to be discharged there, and thou shalt receive them: and thou shalt accomplish [Heb. do, same word as in ver. 8, and probably used designedly - "I will perform thy desire.., and thou shalt perform my desire." There shall be a strict quid pro quo] my desire, in giving food for my household [Hiram states in his reply in what shape he would prefer the hire promised by Solomon (ver. 6). The food for the royal household must be carefully distinguished from the food given to the workmen (2 Chronicles 2:10). The fact that 20,000 ears of wheat formed a part of each has led to their being confounded (e.g. in the marginal references). It is noticeable that when the second temple was built, cedar wood was again brought to Jerusalem, rid Joppa, in return for "meat and drink and oil unto them of Zidon" (Ezra 3:7). The selection of food as the hire of his servants by Hiram almost amounts to an undesigned coincidence. Their narrow strip of cornland, between the roots of Lebanon and the coast - Phoenicia proper ("the great plain of the city of Sidon," Josephus. Ant. 5:03, 1) is only 28 miles long, with an average breadth of one mile-compelled the importation of corn and oil. Ezekiel (Ezekiel 27:17) mentions wheat, honey, oil, and balm as exported from Palestine to the markets of Tyre. It has been justly remarked that the fact that Phoenicia was thus dependent upon Palestine for its breadstuffs explains the unbroken peace that prevailed between the two countries (Heeren. See Dict. Bib. if. p. 865). Solomon thereupon communicated to Hiram, by means of an embassy, his intention to carry out the building of the temple which his father projected, and asked him for building wood from Lebanon for the purpose. From the words, "Thou knowest that my father David could not build," etc., it is evident that David had not only been busily occupied for a long time with the plan for building a temple, but that he had already commenced negotiations with Hiram on the matter; and with this 1 Chronicles 22:4 agrees. "To the name of Jehovah:" this expression is based upon Deuteronomy 12:5 and Deuteronomy 12:11 : "the place which the Lord shall choose to put His name there, or that His name may dwell there." The name of Jehovah is the manifestation of the divine nature in a visible sign as a real pledge of His presence (see at 1 Kings 12:5), and not merely numen Jovae quatenus ab hominibus cognoscitur, colitur, celebratur (Winer, Thenius). Hence in 2 Samuel 7, to which Solomon refers, בּית לי בּנה (1 Kings 5:5, 1 Kings 5:7) alternates with לשׁמי בּית בּנה (1 Kings 5:13). On the obstacle which prevented it, "because of the war, with which they (the enemies) had surrounded me," see at 2 Samuel 7:9. On the construction, סבב with a double accusative, compare the very similar passage, Psalm 109:3, which fully establishes the rendering we have given, so that there is no necessity to assume that מלחמה, war, stands for enemies (Ewald, 317, b.).
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