1 Kings
Introduction 1 Hiram Seeks Contact with Solomon 2-6 Plan to Build the Temple 7-11 Material and Food 12-18 The Workers
Introduction

After the Holy Spirit has described the internal order of the kingdom of Solomon, we get in this chapter and the following chapters what characterizes in a special way the reign of Solomon: the temple of the LORD. The temple is closely linked to peace. God lives with a people who live in peace.

Now that Solomon has peace on all sides, he can begin his great mission for God: the building of the temple. This is also the case in the life of a man who has obtained peace with God. Such a person can then occupy himself with the dwelling place of God, that is now the church of God.


Hiram Seeks Contact with Solomon

1Now Hiram king of Tyre sent his servants to Solomon, when he heard that they had anointed him king in place of his father, for Hiram had always been a friend of David.

Hiram, king of Tyre, had been friends with David. Tyre was an important port city on the Mediterranean Sea north of Israel. When Hiram hears that the son of David, Solomon, has become king, he wants to stand in the same relationship with Solomon.

Tyre is a picture of the world, with all its wealth and treasures. This is also the case here, but here everything is well used, it is put at the disposal of Solomon to help him carry out his plans to build the house of the LORD. Tyre is not yet a picture of the evil world here, as it will later be (Ezekiel 27), but as it will contribute to the temple in the realm of peace (Zec 6:15a15Those who are far off will come and build the temple of the LORD.” Then you will know that the LORD of hosts has sent me to you. And it will take place if you completely obey the LORD your God.; Isa 60:1010“Foreigners will build up your walls,
And their kings will minister to you;
For in My wrath I struck you,
And in My favor I have had compassion on you.
).

What is said here also has a meaning for now. The house of God is not limited to Israel, also the nations share in it. Those of us who once did not participate in it have now been brought near by the blood of Christ and we may now help in the building of God’s house (Col 1:2727to whom God willed to make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.).


Plan to Build the Temple

2Then Solomon sent [word] to Hiram, saying, 3“You know that David my father was unable to build a house for the name of the LORD his God because of the wars which surrounded him, until the LORD put them under the soles of his feet. 4But now the LORD my God has given me rest on every side; there is neither adversary nor misfortune. 5Behold, I intend to build a house for the name of the LORD my God, as the LORD spoke to David my father, saying, ‘Your son, whom I will set on your throne in your place, he will build the house for My name.’ 6Now therefore, command that they cut for me cedars from Lebanon, and my servants will be with your servants; and I will give you wages for your servants according to all that you say, for you know that there is no one among us who knows how to cut timber like the Sidonians.”

Solomon answered the rapprochement of Hiram with a request for help with the building of the temple. He precedes his request by reminding Hiram of David’s plan to build a house for the LORD and why he was not allowed to do so (verses 2-32Then Solomon sent [word] to Hiram, saying,3“You know that David my father was unable to build a house for the name of the LORD his God because of the wars which surrounded him, until the LORD put them under the soles of his feet.). Because of his wars and bloodshed, David was not allowed to build the temple (1Chr 22:88But the word of the LORD came to me, saying, ‘You have shed much blood and have waged great wars; you shall not build a house to My name, because you have shed [so] much blood on the earth before Me.). David is a picture of the Lord Jesus who fought the battle of God. On earth He could not build the temple.

Solomon is a picture of the glorified Lord and as such he is the builder of the temple. The basis for the building is rest (verse 44But now the LORD my God has given me rest on every side; there is neither adversary nor misfortune.). Rest is the rest of the glorified Lord. From Acts 2, after completing His work of redemption, in which every enemy is defeated and there is rest, the Lord Jesus builds the temple, the church.

In some respects, it is also true today that there can be no building of the house of God, that there can be no building of the church, if we have to fight to preserve the truths that are entrusted to us (Jude 1:33Beloved, while I was making every effort to write you about our common salvation, I felt the necessity to write to you appealing that you contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all handed down to the saints.). Nor will the building of the church come to nothing if the believers are at odds with each other because of all kinds of quarrels and insignificant differences of opinion.

Because of many abuses in the church in Corinth and errors that had found their way into the churches in Galatia, Paul could not share much there to build up the church. He first had to correct there in order to clear the way for further building. If there is peace, building up can take place. “So the church throughout all Judea and Galilee and Samaria enjoyed peace, being built up” (Acts 9:31a31So the church throughout all Judea and Galilee and Samaria enjoyed peace, being built up; and going on in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit, it continued to increase.).

Then Solomon tells that he plans to build that house for the LORD (verse 55Behold, I intend to build a house for the name of the LORD my God, as the LORD spoke to David my father, saying, ‘Your son, whom I will set on your throne in your place, he will build the house for My name.’). He does not do this on his own initiative, but because it is according to the will of God, which he has made known to his father David.

Solomon invites Hiram and declares to him the mystery of God concerning the temple and that is that also gentiles are involved in its building (verse 66Now therefore, command that they cut for me cedars from Lebanon, and my servants will be with your servants; and I will give you wages for your servants according to all that you say, for you know that there is no one among us who knows how to cut timber like the Sidonians.”). They may help, in recognition of the gifts they have. For the building of the temple David, Solomon’s father, gathered gold and silver in abundance (1Chr 29:22Now with all my ability I have provided for the house of my God the gold for the [things of] gold, and the silver for the [things of] silver, and the bronze for the [things of] bronze, the iron for the [things of] iron, and wood for the [things of] wood, onyx stones and inlaid [stones], stones of antimony and stones of various colors, and all kinds of precious stones and alabaster in abundance.).

However, wood is also needed. Solomon asks Hiram. In return, Solomon promises wages. He does not negotiate about it, but will give Hiram whatever he may ask. That important the building of God’s house is to Solomon. Hiram promises to give him everything he needs.

Solomon knows the special abilities of the Sidonians and appealed to them for building the temple. Despite the fact that he far surpasses Hiram in wealth and stature, he still appeals to him. This means that we must never look down on those who may not be as richly blessed socially or spiritually as we are. Spiritual riches should never be something on which we boast. We must always be aware: “What do you have that you did not receive” (1Cor 4:77For who regards you as superior? What do you have that you did not receive? And if you did receive it, why do you boast as if you had not received it?)?


Material and Food

7When Hiram heard the words of Solomon, he rejoiced greatly and said, “Blessed be the LORD today, who has given to David a wise son over this great people.” 8So Hiram sent [word] to Solomon, saying, “I have heard [the message] which you have sent me; I will do what you desire concerning the cedar and cypress timber. 9My servants will bring [them] down from Lebanon to the sea; and I will make them into rafts [to go] by sea to the place where you direct me, and I will have them broken up there, and you shall carry [them] away. Then you shall accomplish my desire by giving food to my household.” 10So Hiram gave Solomon as much as he desired of the cedar and cypress timber. 11Solomon then gave Hiram 20,000 kors of wheat as food for his household, and twenty kors of beaten oil; thus Solomon would give Hiram year by year.

Hiram’s reaction to Solomon’s request is that he praises the LORD. God gives great reason to praise Him in our conversion, but even more so when He introduces us into His thoughts about His house. Hiram had already heard of God through David. We also praise God that He has given His Son as Ruler over His people.

Hiram promises that he will give everything Solomon asks for. He also promises him that he will take care of the transport and asks for his wages. Solomon promises him the food (cf. Eze 27:1717Judah and the land of Israel, they were your traders; with the wheat of Minnith, cakes, honey, oil and balm they paid for your merchandise.) needed to perform the service. Solomon gives according to the wealth of his possession. Wheat and oil speak of the blessings of the land. Whoever builds, receives rich blessing.

Thus the Lord Jesus gives food to be busy with His house. To be able to work, there must be food. In order to work on the building of the church, we must feed ourselves with the good food of the Word, which is with the Lord Jesus. It is only through Him that we gain the strength to do our work as transporters or burden bearers (verse 1515Now Solomon had 70,000 transporters, and 80,000 hewers [of stone] in the mountains,, Darby Translation).


The Workers

12The LORD gave wisdom to Solomon, just as He promised him; and there was peace between Hiram and Solomon, and the two of them made a covenant. 13Now King Solomon levied forced laborers from all Israel; and the forced laborers numbered 30,000 men. 14He sent them to Lebanon, 10,000 a month in relays; they were in Lebanon a month [and] two months at home. And Adoniram [was] over the forced laborers. 15Now Solomon had 70,000 transporters, and 80,000 hewers [of stone] in the mountains, 16besides Solomon’s 3,300 chief deputies who [were] over the project [and] who ruled over the people who were doing the work. 17Then the king commanded, and they quarried great stones, costly stones, to lay the foundation of the house with cut stones. 18So Solomon’s builders and Hiram’s builders and the Gebalites cut them, and prepared the timbers and the stones to build the house.

Verse 1212The LORD gave wisdom to Solomon, just as He promised him; and there was peace between Hiram and Solomon, and the two of them made a covenant. is a transitional verse that refers to both the previous section and the next one. In this verse it is clearly stated once more that the LORD has given Solomon wisdom. Everything comes from Him. Solomon’s wisdom is evident from his covenant with Hiram, to obtain from him good materials and suitable workers for the building of God’s house. His wisdom is also reflected in the way he uses the labor forces.

Solomon also supplies workers from his own country and sends them to the Lebanon north of Israel. A lot of men are needed to help felling the trees. This is done in rotation, so that everyone can still do their work at home.

There are workers for various types of work. There are woodcutters, stone cutters, burden carriers [transporters] and deputies. These different tasks have their spiritual counterparts in the church. Take for example burden carriers. That is something to which we are all called (Gal 6:22Bear one another’s burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ.). There is also a great number of workers, which means that the tasks can be well divided and not everything falls on the shoulders of just a few. Unfortunately, that is often different today.

Besides wood, stones are also needed, large precious stones as the foundation for the house. That is where it has to start. It is prepared on the instructions of Solomon himself. The foundation, although not seen when the house is finished, is the most important of the building.

So God also worked for His spiritual home. Christ, in the splendor of His glory, is the foundation of the church (1Cor 3:10-1110According to the grace of God which was given to me, like a wise master builder I laid a foundation, and another is building on it. But each man must be careful how he builds on it.11For no man can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.; cf. Rev 21:1919The foundation stones of the city wall were adorned with every kind of precious stone. The first foundation stone was jasper; the second, sapphire; the third, chalcedony; the fourth, emerald;). He is the cornerstone. The foundation consists of all truths relating to Christ and His work, as revealed to us by His apostles and prophets in His Word (Eph 2:2020having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the corner [stone],). The stones used to build the house are a picture of the believers, who are called “living stones” (1Pet 2:55you also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.). When the house is built on the foundation in this way, we see that “the whole building [which is the church], being fitted together, is growing into a holy temple in the Lord” (Eph 2:2121in whom the whole building, being fitted together, is growing into a holy temple in the Lord,).


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