Preparations for Building the Temple
5 Now 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 always loved David. And Solomon sent word to Hiram, “You know that David my father could not build a house for the name of the LORD his God because of the warfare with which his enemies surrounded him, until the LORD put them under the soles of his feet. But now the LORD my God has given me rest on every side. There is neither adversary nor misfortune. And so I intend to build a house for the name of the LORD my God, as the LORD said to David my father, ‘Your son, whom I will set on your throne in your place, shall build the house for my name.’ Now therefore command that cedars of Lebanon be cut for me. And my servants will join your servants, and I will pay you for your servants such wages as you set, for you know that there is no one among us who knows how to cut timber like the Sidonians.”
As soon as Hiram heard the words of Solomon, he rejoiced greatly and said, “Blessed be the LORD this day, who has given to David a wise son to be over this great people.” And Hiram sent to Solomon, saying, “I have heard the message that you have sent to me. I am ready to do all you desire in the matter of cedar and cypress timber. My servants shall bring it down to the sea from Lebanon, and I will make it into rafts to go by sea to the place you direct. And I will have them broken up there, and you shall receive it. And you shall meet my wishes by providing food for my household.” So Hiram supplied Solomon with all the timber of cedar and cypress that he desired, while Solomon gave Hiram 20,000 cors of wheat as food for his household, and 20,000 cors of beaten oil. Solomon gave this to Hiram year by year. And the LORD gave Solomon wisdom, as he promised him. And there was peace between Hiram and Solomon, and the two of them made a treaty.
King Solomon drafted forced labor out of all Israel, and the draft numbered 30,000 men. And he sent them to Lebanon, 10,000 a month in shifts. They would be a month in Lebanon and two months at home. Adoniram was in charge of the draft. Solomon also had 70,000 burden-bearers and 80,000 stonecutters in the hill country, besides Solomon’s 3,300 chief officers who were over the work, who had charge of the people who carried on the work. At the king’s command they quarried out great, costly stones in order to lay the foundation of the house with dressed stones. So Solomon’s builders and Hiram’s builders and the men of Gebal did the cutting and prepared the timber and the stone to build the house.
1 Kings 5 Commentary
by Hank Workman
Sometimes God says “No”. Or maybe a better phrase is, “Not yet.”
David desired greatly to build a temple for God. His heart was pure on this. Yet, as 2 Samuel 7 records the entire thought process and ultimate answer given by the prophet Nathan was it would not take place under his leadership. This would have been shattering for David who had such a vision for it.
But in the scheme of the story, God had intentions for David to unify Israel and destroy its enemies. It was a huge task for anyone. It also brought about a lot of bloodshed. 1 Chronicles 28 holds a statement by God He didn’t want a warrior to build His temple.
And although David was severely disappointed, what did he do? Did he simply give up? Did he decide to pout over this not taking place under his hand? No, quite the opposite. David accepted the answer and began to collect the materials needed for the construction so that when his son Solomon took the throne he could begin the construction.
The beauty of this backstory is David accepted his part in God’s plan and didn’t try to go beyond it. He also began the footwork for someone else to complete the task or dream he had. He still worked on the dream although he would not see the completion in his lifetime. There is an aspect to this personally I feel but the challenge here is David’s mindset to do what God intended and work toward the goal even though it will not come to pass under him.
And so in 1 Kings 5 we see the framework has been laid decades before that Solomon picks up. It is the beginning of the dream of his father David becoming reality as Solomon starts the process of construction.
What if God says no to your current dreams? What if He says ‘not yet’ or this will not take place in your own lifetime? Will you stay diligent in the work before to see Him fulfill these even if you will not be part of it?
1 Kings 5 Commentary
by Brad Boyles
There were two key ingredients Solomon needed in order to build the temple. 1) Peace. 2) Wood. This was an amazing time for Israel as they had no threats from their enemies.
“You know my father David was not able to build a temple for the name of Yahweh his God. This was because of the warfare all around him until the LORD put his enemies under his feet. 4 The LORD my God has now given me rest all around; there is no enemy or crisis.1 Kings 5:3-4 HCSB
Historically, David had maintained a friendly relationship with Hiram. Solomon reached out to this leader from Tyre in order to secure the materials necessary to build the temple. The city of Tyre is in Lebanon along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea, just north of Israel. This region is famous for its Lebanese cedar with thick forests that lined the nation’s borders. Solomon would make a deal – olive oil and wheat for lots of lumber.
So Hiram provided Solomon with all the cedar and cypress timber he wanted, 11 and Solomon provided Hiram with 100,000 bushels of wheat as food for his household and 110,000 gallons of oil from crushed olives. Solomon did this for Hiram year after year. 12 The LORD gave Solomon wisdom, as He had promised him. There was peace between Hiram and Solomon, and the two of them made a treaty.1 Kings 5:10-12 HCSB
This wisdom mentioned here at the end of this passage is practical for us today. By the Lord’s wisdom, Solomon was not puffed up with arrogance in trying to build the temple on his own. He took advantage of the faithfulness of his father and reached out to a foreign nation in order to use their resources. These resources would not be used for their own gain, but for glorifying God. Isn’t that the same thing we seek to do every day? No matter what we do, or how resources come to us, our mission is to use them to glorify His name in the end.