King Solomon and King Huram of Tyre (2 Chr 2:3-2:10)

“King Solomon sent word to King Huram of Tyre. ‘Once you dealt with my father King David. You sent him cedar to build himself a house to live in. I am about to build a house for the name of Yahweh my God. I want to dedicate it to him for offering fragrant incense before him, for the regular offering of the rows of bread, and for the burnt offerings morning and evening. I need it for the Sabbath, the new moons, and the appointed feasts of Yahweh our God, as ordained forever for Israel. The house which I am about to build will be great, for our God is greater than all gods. But who is able to build him a house, since heaven, even highest heaven, cannot contain him? Who am I to build a house for him, except as a place to make offerings before him? So now send me an artisan skilled to work in gold, silver, bronze, and iron. I need artisans in purple, crimson, and blue fabrics, trained also in engraving, to join the skilled workers who are with me in Judah and Jerusalem, whom my father David provided. Send me also cedar, cypress, and algum timber from Lebanon. I know that your servants are skilled in cutting Lebanon timber. My servants will be with your servants to prepare timber for me in abundance, because the house I am about to build will be great and wonderful. I will provide for your servants, those who cut the timber, twenty thousand cors of crushed wheat, twenty thousand cors of barley, twenty thousand baths of wine, and twenty thousand baths of oil.”

This explanation of the relationship with King Huram of Tyre is slightly different than in 1 Kings, chapter 5. First, here he is called Huram instead of Hiram, which is no big deal. This King Huram (Hiram) had been a good friend to King David as indicated in 2 Samuel, chapter 5, where he sent wood and workers to help built King David’s house. Instead of King Huram (Hiram) sending help, it is King Solomon who solicits the help of the Phoenician. King Solomon went into great detail on why he needed a house of worship, which he did not do in 1 Kings. He wanted a place to offer sacrifices to his God who was greater than all other gods. He never explained why King David had not built this temple as in 1 Kings. However, the request is pretty much the same that he needed the cedar wood of Tyre. King Solomon wanted King Hirum’s men to come to Jerusalem and help build the temple because they were such good workmen with the Lebanon cedar wood. He, also, wanted skilled gold, silver, and bronze workers to work side by side with his artisans. King Solomon would pay their wages because of their skill. In fact, here King Solomon is very specific, 20,000 cors of crushed wheat and barley, 20,000 baths of wine and oil. These were equivalent to about 160,000 bushels of wheat and barley and over 120,000 gallons of wine and oil.   The algum wood is like a sandalwood tree.

King Hiram of Tyre sends cypress and cedar wood (1 Kings 5:7-5:11)

“When Hiram heard the words of Solomon, he rejoiced greatly, and said. ‘Blessed be Yahweh this day, who has given to David a wise son to be over this great people.’ King Hiram sent word to King Solomon. ‘I have heard the message that you have sent to me. I will fulfill all you needs in the matter of cedar and cypress timber. My servants shall bring it down to the sea from Lebanon. I will make it into rafts to go by sea to the place you indicate. I will have them broken up there for you to take away. You shall meet my needs by providing food for my household.’ Hiram supplied Solomon’s every need for cedar and cypress timber. Solomon in turn gave Hiram twenty thousand cors of wheat as food for his household and twenty cors of fine oil. Solomon gave this to Hiram year by year.”

When King Hiram heard the response from King Solomon, he blessed Yahweh for sending such a wise man to follow David. Hiram would be happy to help him with the cedar wood and the timber. He would send the wood down by the sea like rafts. Then they would break up the wood when they took it out of the water so that they could carry it. Now Solomon agreed to provide the food for the workers who came from Tyre and the Lebanon area.   With all the food he had coming in each month, this was not a big deal for Solomon to provide this food on a yearly basis. So this was a swap of food for timber and labor.