2 Samuel 5:11
And Hiram king of Tyre sent messengers to David, and cedar trees, and carpenters, and masons: and they built David an house.
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(11) Hiram king of Tyre.—This is the same Hiram, variously spelt Hirom and Huram, who was afterwards the friend of Solomon (1Kings 5:1; 2Chronicles 2:3),and was still living in the twenty-fourth year of Solomon’s reign (1Kings 9:10-14; comp. 6:1, 38; 7:1); either, therefore, he must have had a reign of some fifty-seven years, or else his embassy to David must have been some time after the capture of Jerusalem. It is not unlikely that several years may have elapsed between the two events, during which “David went on and grew great” (2Samuel 5:10), thereby attracting the attention and regard of Hiram. But the statement quoted by Josephus from Menander (100 Apion, i. 18) cannot be correct, that Hiram reigned only thirty-four years; for David was already in his “house of cedar” (2Samuel 7:2) when he formed the purpose of building the Temple, and this was before the birth of Solomon (2Samuel 7:12; 1Chronicles 22:9). Huram’s father, however, was also named Huram (2Chronicles 2:13).

The Israelites evidently had little skill in architecture, since they relied on the Phœnicians for workmen both for this palace and for Solomon’s, as well as for the Temple.

2 Samuel 5:11. Hiram sent messengers to David, &c. — Hearing that he intended to settle in the fort he had taken, Hiram sent him both materials and artificers to build him a palace. For the Jews, being given to feeding cattle and husbandry, were not very skilful in mechanic arts. The accounts left us of this king of Tyre are short; but it appears from them that he was a magnificent and a generous prince, and a believer in the true God. See the form of his congratulation to Solomon upon his accession to the throne, 1 Kings 5:7. And this character well fitted him to enter into and to cultivate an alliance with David, as he did with uncommon friendship and affection as long as David lived, and continued it to his son for his sake. — Delaney.5:11-16 David's house was not the worse, nor the less fit to be dedicated to God, for being built by the sons of the stranger. It is prophesied of the gospel church, The sons of strangers shall build up thy walls, and their kings shall minister unto thee, Isa 60:10. David's government was rooted and built up. David was established king; so is the Son of David, and all who, through him, are made to our God kings and priests. Never had the nation of Israel appeared so great as it began now to be. Many have the favour and love of God, yet do not perceive it, and so want the comfort of it; but to be exalted to that, and to perceive it, is happiness. David owned it was for his people's sake God had done great things for him; that he might be a blessing to them, and that they might be happy under him.Hiram king of Tyre - Now mentioned for the first time. He survived David, and continued his friendship to Solomon (marginal references). The news of the capture of the city of the Jebusites had doubtless reached Tyre, and created a great impression of David's power. 11, 12. Hiram … sent carpenters, and masons—The influx of Tyrian architects and mechanics affords a clear evidence of the low state to which, through the disorders of long-continued war, the better class of artisans had declined in Israel. For Lebanon, which was famous for its cedars, was a great part of it in his dominion. For the Tyrians were excellent artists and workmen, as both sacred and profane writers agree. And Hiram king of Tyre,.... This was father of that Hiram that lived in the times of Solomon, whose name was Abibalus before he took the name of Hiram, which became a common name of the kings of Tyre; his former name may be seen in the ancient historians quoted by Josephus (s); of the city of Tyre; see Gill on Isaiah 23:1; which was built one year before the destruction of Troy (t). This king, on hearing of David's being acknowledged king by all Israel, and of his taking Jerusalem out of the hands of the Jebusites:

sent messengers to David; to congratulate him upon all this:

and cedar trees, and carpenters, and masons; these might not be sent at first, but David intending to build himself an house, might, by the messengers on their return, request of Hiram to send him timber and workmen for that purpose; the people of Israel being chiefly employed in cultivating their fields, and vineyards, and oliveyards, and feeding their flocks and herds, few of them had any skill in hewing: timber and stone, and building houses, at least not like the Tyrians and Sidonians; see 1 Kings 5:6; and accordingly he sent him cedars from Lebanon, a great part of which was in his dominions, and artificers in wood and stone, to build his house in the most elegant manner:

and they built David an house; to dwell in, a stately palace, called an house of cedar, 2 Samuel 7:2.

(s) Contr. Apion. l. 1. sect. 17, 18. (t) Justin e Trogo, l. 18. c. 3.

And Hiram king of Tyre sent messengers to David, and cedar trees, and carpenters, and masons: and they built David an house.
11–16. David’s Palace and Family

 =1 Chronicles 14:1-711. Hiram king of Tyre] In 1 Kings 5:10; 1 Kings 5:18, the name is spelt Hirom, in Chron. Huram.

Josephus (against Apion i. 18) states, on the authority of Menander of Ephesus, who wrote a history of Tyre based upon native Tyrian documents, that Hiram, Solomon’s ally and helper in building the Temple, reigned thirty-four years. He also states that Solomon began the Temple in the twelfth year of Hiram’s reign. This Hiram therefore reigned only eight years contemporaneously with David, as the Temple was begun in the fourth year of Solomon’s reign.

But David’s palace must have been built before the last eight years of his reign. From ch. 2 Samuel 7:2 we learn that it was finished before he conceived the plan of building the Temple, at a time when Solomon was not yet born (ch. 2 Samuel 7:12 : cp. 1 Chronicles 22:9), and probably some twenty-five years before the close of his reign.

If the statements of Menander and Josephus are accurate, we must suppose that the Hiram here mentioned was either the father or the grandfather of Solomon’s ally. His father is called by Menander Abibaal, but he may have borne both names, or the more familiar name of his son may have been attached to him.

It is probable that the historian to some extent forsakes chronological order, and places the account of David’s palace-building and of his family here by anticipation in proof of the statement of 2 Samuel 5:10. He must have been too fully occupied at the beginning of his reign with the works mentioned in 2 Samuel 5:9, and with wars such as those against the Philistines (2 Samuel 5:17-25), to have had leisure for the luxury of palace-building.

Tyre] One of the two great cities of Phoenicia, celebrated for its commerce, its mechanical skill, and its wealth. When the Israelites entered Canaan, it was already noted for its strength (Joshua 19:29). Three causes co-operated to bring Phoenicia into close and friendly relation with Israel. (a) The contiguity of the countries, and the short distance between their capitals. From Tyre to Jerusalem by land was scarcely more than 100 miles, so that intercourse was easy. (b) Similarity of language. Phoenician so closely resembles Hebrew, that it must have been readily intelligible to the Israelites. (c) Tyre depended upon Palestine for its supplies of wheat and oil, and in return sent to Jerusalem its articles of commerce, and provided skilled workmen for the buildings erected by David and Solomon.

cedar trees] Felled no doubt in the forests of Lebanon, and brought by sea to Joppa. Cp. 2 Chronicles 2:16. The cedar was the prince of trees (Psalm 104:16), the emblem of strength and stature and grandeur (Psalm 92:12; Amos 2:9; Ezekiel 31:3). Its timber was highly prized for building on account of its durability. Other species of pine besides the well-known cedar of Lebanon were probably included under the general term cedar.

they built David a house] Psalms 30, which is entitled “A song at the Dedication of the House,” may possibly have been written to celebrate the completion of this palace. If so, David had just recovered from a severe illness, concerning which the history is silent.Verse 11. - Hiram King of Tyre. At first sight it seems as if the Hiram who so greatly aided Solomon in the building of the temple was the same person as David's friend (1 Kings 5:10; 2 Chronicles 2:3), but this identification is disproved by the express statement in 2 Chronicles 2:13, and by the chronology. For granting that this account of Hiram's embassy occurs in a general summary, yet David would not long defer the erection of a palace, and in the history of Bathsheba we find, as a matter of fact, that it was then already built (2 Samuel 11:2). But as Solomon was grown to manhood at his father's death, David's sin must have been committed not more than nine or ten years after he became king of all Israel. Now, we are told by Josephus ('Contr. Apion,' 1:18), on the authority of Menander of Ephesus, that Hiram reigned in all thirty years. But in 1 Kings 9:10-13 we have an account of a transaction with Hiram in Solomon's twentieth year. In another place ('Ant.,' 8:03. 1) Josephus tells us that Hiram had been King of Tyre eleven years when Solomon, in the fourth year of his reign, began the building of the temple. He would thus have been a contemporary of David for only the last seven or eight years of his reign. But the history of this embassy is given as a proof of David's establishment in his kingdom, and cannot therefore be referred to so late a period in his lifetime, when it would have lost its interest. The improbability of two successive kings having the same name is not, after all, so very great, especially as we do not know what the word Hiram, or Haram, exactly means. Nor is Menander's statement conclusive against it, where he says that Hiram's father was named Abibal - "Baal is my father." This would probably be an official name, borne by Hiram as the defender of the national religion, or as a priest king. There is, therefore, no real reason for rejecting the statement in 2 Chronicles 2:13 that Hiram, or as he is there called Huram, David's friend, was the father of the Huram who was Solomon's ally. Cedar trees. Cedar wood was greatly valued both for its fragrance and durability, owing to the resin which it contains preserving it from the attacks of insects. Its colour also is soft and pleasing to the eye, as may be seen in the Jerusalem Chamber in Westminster Abbey, the panels of which are of cedar. It did not grow in the Antilibanus, or eastern part of Lebanon, which belonged to Israel, but only in the western part, which belonged to Tyre. Cedar from the time of David became the favourite material at Jerusalem for the interior of houses (Jeremiah 22:14), and Isaiah charges the people of Samaria with pride for not being content with the native sycomores which had satisfied their fathers, but substituting for it this costly foreign timber (Isaiah 9:10). Carpenters and masons. The necessity of importing "workers of wood, and workers of stone for walls," as the words literally mean, proves how miserable was the social state of Israel in David's time. Though they had been slaves in Egypt, yet at the Exodus the Israelites had men capable of working in the precious metals and jewelry, in weaving and embroidery, in wood carving, and even in the cutting of gems (Exodus 35:30-35). During the long anarchy of the judges they had degenerated into a race of agricultural drudges, whom the Philistines had debarred from the use of even the simplest tools (1 Samuel 13:19). Possibly in Saul's time there was a faint restoration of the arts of civilized life (2 Samuel 1:24); but when we find Joab killing Absalom, not with darts, but with pointed stakes (2 Samuel 18:14), the weapons probably of most of the foot soldiers, we see that not much had been done even then in metallurgy; and here earlier in his reign David has to send to Tyre for men who could saw a plank or build a wall. When, then, we call to mind the high state of culture and the magnificence of Solomon's reign, we can form some idea of the vigour with which David raised his subjects from a state of semi-barbarism. The age of David when he began to reign is given here, viz., thirty years old; also the length of his reign, viz., seven years and a half at Hebron over Judah, and thirty-three years at Jerusalem over Israel and Judah. In the books of Chronicles these statements occur at the close of David's reign (1 Chronicles 29:27).
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