And Solomon determined to build an house for the name of the LORD, and an house for his kingdom.
And Solomon told out threescore and ten thousand men to bear burdens, and fourscore thousand to hew in the mountain, and three thousand and six hundred to oversee them.
And Solomon sent to Huram the king of Tyre, saying, As thou didst deal with David my father, and didst send him cedars to build him an house to dwell therein, even so deal with me.Huram, the form used throughout Chronicles (except 1 Chronicles 14:1) for the name both of the king and of the artisan whom he lent to Solomon 2 Chronicles 2:13; 2 Chronicles 4:11, 2 Chronicles 4:16, is a late corruption of the true native word, Hiram (marginal note and reference).
Behold, I build an house to the name of the LORD my God, to dedicate it to him, and to burn before him sweet incense, and for the continual shewbread, and for the burnt offerings morning and evening, on the sabbaths, and on the new moons, and on the solemn feasts of the LORD our God. This is an ordinance for ever to Israel.The symbolic meaning of "burning incense" is indicated in Revelation 8:3-4. Consult the marginal references to this verse.
And the house which I build is great: for great is our God above all gods.See 1 Kings 6:2 note. In Jewish eyes, at the time that the temple was built, it may have been "great," that is to say, it may have exceeded the dimensions of any single separate building existing in Palestine up to the time of its erection.
Great is our God ... - This may seem inappropriate as addressed to a pagan king. But it appears 2 Chronicles 2:11-12 that Hiram acknowledged Yahweh as the supreme deity, probably identifying Him with his own Melkarth.
But who is able to build him an house, seeing the heaven and heaven of heavens cannot contain him? who am I then, that I should build him an house, save only to burn sacrifice before him?Save only to burn sacrifice before him - Solomon seems to mean that to build the temple can only be justified on the human - not on the divine - side. "God dwelleth not in temples made with hands;" He cannot be confined to them; He does in no sort need them. The sole reason for building a temple lies in the needs of man: his worship must he local; the sacrifices commanded in the Law had of necessity to be offered somewhere.
Send me now therefore a man cunning to work in gold, and in silver, and in brass, and in iron, and in purple, and crimson, and blue, and that can skill to grave with the cunning men that are with me in Judah and in Jerusalem, whom David my father did provide.See 1 Kings 5:6, note; 1 Kings 7:13, note.
Purple ... - "Purple, crimson, and blue," would be needed for the hangings of the temple, which, in this respect, as in others, was conformed to the pattern of the tabernacle (see Exodus 25:4; Exodus 26:1, etc.). Hiram's power of "working in purple, crimson," etc., was probably a knowledge of the best modes of dyeing cloth these colors. The Phoenicians, off whose coast the murex was commonly taken, were famous as purple dyers from a very remote period.
Crimson - כרמיל karmı̂̂yl, the word here and elsewhere translated "crimson," is unique to Chronicles and probably of Persian origin. The famous red dye of Persia and India, the dye known to the Greeks as κόκκος kokkos, and to the Romans as coccum, is obtained from an insect. Whether the "scarlet" שׁני shânı̂y of Exodus (Exodus 25:4, etc.) is the same or a different red, cannot be certainly determined.
Send me also cedar trees, fir trees, and algum trees, out of Lebanon: for I know that thy servants can skill to cut timber in Lebanon; and, behold, my servants shall be with thy servants,
Even to prepare me timber in abundance: for the house which I am about to build shall be wonderful great.
And, behold, I will give to thy servants, the hewers that cut timber, twenty thousand measures of beaten wheat, and twenty thousand measures of barley, and twenty thousand baths of wine, and twenty thousand baths of oil.Beaten wheat - The Hebrew text is probably corrupt here. The true original may be restored from marginal reference, where the wheat is said to have been given "for food."
The barley and the wine are omitted in Kings. The author of Chronicles probably filled out the statement which the writer of Kings has given in brief; the barley, wine, and ordinary oil, would be applied to the sustenance of the foreign laborers.
Then Huram the king of Tyre answered in writing, which he sent to Solomon, Because the LORD hath loved his people, he hath made thee king over them.Josephus and others professed to give Greek versions of the correspondence, which (they said) had taken place between Hiram and Solomon. No value attaches to those letters, which are evidently forgeries.
Because the Lord hath loved his people - Compare the marginal references. The neighboring sovereigns, in their communications with the Jewish monarchs, seem to have adopted the Jewish name for the Supreme Being (Yahweh), either identifying Him (as did Hiram) with their own chief god or (sometimes) meaning merely to acknowledge Him as the special God of the Jewish nation and country.
Huram said moreover, Blessed be the LORD God of Israel, that made heaven and earth, who hath given to David the king a wise son, endued with prudence and understanding, that might build an house for the LORD, and an house for his kingdom.The Lord ... that made heaven and earth - This appears to have been a formula designating the Supreme God with several of the Asiatic nations. In the Persian inscriptions Ormazd is constantly called "the great god, who gave" (or made) "heaven and earth."
And now I have sent a cunning man, endued with understanding, of Huram my father's,Of Huram my father's - A wrong translation. Huram here is the workman sent by the king of Tyre and not the king of Tyre's father (see 1 Kings 5:1 note). The words in the original are Huram Abi, and the latter word is now commonly thought to be either a proper name or an epithet of honor, e. g., my master-workman.
The son of a woman of the daughters of Dan, and his father was a man of Tyre, skilful to work in gold, and in silver, in brass, in iron, in stone, and in timber, in purple, in blue, and in fine linen, and in crimson; also to grave any manner of graving, and to find out every device which shall be put to him, with thy cunning men, and with the cunning men of my lord David thy father.To find out every device - Compare Exodus 31:4. The "devices" intended are plans or designs connected with art, which Huram could invent on any subject that was "put to him."
Now therefore the wheat, and the barley, the oil, and the wine, which my lord hath spoken of, let him send unto his servants:
And we will cut wood out of Lebanon, as much as thou shalt need: and we will bring it to thee in floats by sea to Joppa; and thou shalt carry it up to Jerusalem.
And Solomon numbered all the strangers that were in the land of Israel, after the numbering wherewith David his father had numbered them; and they were found an hundred and fifty thousand and three thousand and six hundred.The strangers are the non-Israelite population of the holy land, the descendants (chiefly) of those Canaanites whom the children of Israel did not drive out. The reimposition of the bond-service imposed on the Canaanites at the time of the conquest Judges 1:28, Judges 1:30, Judges 1:33, Judges 1:35, but discontinued in the period of depression between Joshua and Saul, was (it is clear) due to David, whom Solomon merely imitated in the arrangements described in these verses.
And he set threescore and ten thousand of them to be bearers of burdens, and fourscore thousand to be hewers in the mountain, and three thousand and six hundred overseers to set the people a work.On the numbers, see the 1 Kings 5:16 note.
To set the people a work - Or, "to set the people to work" - i. e., to compel them to labor. Probably, like the Egyptian and Assyrian overseers of forced labor, these officers carried whips or sticks, with which they quickened the movements of the sluggish.