1 Kings 5
Expositor's Dictionary of Texts
And Hiram king of Tyre sent his servants unto Solomon; for he had heard that they had anointed him king in the room of his father: for Hiram was ever a lover of David.
The Spade-work of the Kingdom

1 Kings 5:15

Alike as to its structure, furniture, and services, the temple of Solomon had a spiritual and an evangelical signification. Our Lord institutes analogies between Himself and the temple, and the apostles repeatedly refer to the sacred palace as typical of the Christian Church. The temple on Zion, with everything relating to it, was full of prophetic significance; and we do no violence to the text when we see in it an anticipation of a large class of evangelical workers and of a considerable branch of evangelical work. Tens of thousands today 'bear burdens,' are 'hewers in the mountains'—are servants of Christ, working in wild, difficult, and distant places; bending themselves to obscure tasks and the very drudgery of things that the living temple of a regenerate humanity may be built. About these particular workers of the kingdom we propose now to speak; to recognize the vastness and seriousness of their service, the greatness and certainty of their reward.

I. The Initial Service in the Salvation and Uplifting of Man is peculiarly the Vocation of the Christian Church.

1. The initial work of uplifting the race is spiritual.

2. The initial work of uplifting the race is by spiritual workers beginning at the basement.

II. The Initial Work of the Church of God Implies Immense Sacrifice.—The burden-bearers and hewers in the mountains encountered great trials and made severe sacrifices that the stone and timber necessary for Solomon's temple might be forthcoming; and the living temple of a regenerate humanity is possible only as evangelical workers are prepared greatly to deny themselves. And tens of thousands of such workers are today making manifold sacrifices for the world's salvation.

III. The Splendid Hopefulness of this Initial Work.—Out of the rugged mountain and wild wood these strenuous workers brought the wondrous temple. Coarse, dull, forbidding as their toil might seem, it at last took shape as the palace of God. 'Great stones, costly stones, hewed stones,' formed the foundation of the house. 'The doors were also of olive-tree; and he carved upon them carvings of cherubim, and palm-trees, and open flowers, and overlaid them with gold.' 'And the cedar of the house within was carved with gourds and open flowers

Our undistinguished brethren are occupied with raw material; they are subject to distressing conditions; the result of their strain and sacrifice is often ambiguous and disappointing, yet is their work grander than they know; they build a living temple of moral splendour which no Nebuchadnezzar shall spoil, a New Jerusalem no Titus shall destroy.

The sculptor can discern in the jagged quarry of Carrara galleries of beauteous imagery; in the wild forest of Lebanon the architect can see palaces and temples; and since Christ opened our eyes compounds and slums dazzle us with the most splendid possibilities of life and destiny.

—W. L. Watkinson, The Fatal Barter, pp. 228-244.

Reference.—VII. 5, 6.—S. Baring-Gould, One Hundred Sermon Sketches.

And Solomon sent to Hiram, saying,
Thou knowest how that David my father could not build an house unto the name of the LORD his God for the wars which were about him on every side, until the LORD put them under the soles of his feet.
But now the LORD my God hath given me rest on every side, so that there is neither adversary nor evil occurrent.
And, behold, I purpose to build an house unto the name of the LORD my God, as the LORD spake unto David my father, saying, Thy son, whom I will set upon thy throne in thy room, he shall build an house unto my name.
Now therefore command thou that they hew me cedar trees out of Lebanon; and my servants shall be with thy servants: and unto thee will I give hire for thy servants according to all that thou shalt appoint: for thou knowest that there is not among us any that can skill to hew timber like unto the Sidonians.
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.
And Hiram sent to Solomon, saying, I have considered the things which thou sentest to me for: and I will do all thy desire concerning timber of cedar, and concerning timber of fir.
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 my household.
So Hiram gave Solomon cedar trees and fir trees according to all his desire.
And Solomon gave Hiram twenty thousand measures of wheat for food to his household, and twenty measures of pure oil: thus gave Solomon to Hiram year by year.
And the LORD gave Solomon wisdom, as he promised him: and there was peace between Hiram and Solomon; and they two made a league together.
And king Solomon raised a levy out of all Israel; and the levy was thirty thousand men.
And he sent them to Lebanon, ten thousand a month by courses: a month they were in Lebanon, and two months at home: and Adoniram was over the levy.
And Solomon had threescore and ten thousand that bare burdens, and fourscore thousand hewers in the mountains;
Beside the chief of Solomon's officers which were over the work, three thousand and three hundred, which ruled over the people that wrought in the work.
And the king commanded, and they brought great stones, costly stones, and hewed stones, to lay the foundation of the house.
And Solomon's builders and Hiram's builders did hew them, and the stonesquarers: so they prepared timber and stones to build the house.
Nicoll - Expositor's Dictionary of Texts

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