Solomon the Builder

I Kings: Chapters 5-7

Hiram, king of Tyre and admirer of David, sends servants to Solomon. In his reply, Solomon outlines his plan to build a Temple. For  now, he has achieved a sustained peace all around. He requests of Hiram Lebanese cedar, confessing that none among the Israelites can hew timber as skilfully as the Sidonians. Hiram is only too happy to oblige, offering Solomon as much cedar and fir timber as he requires in return for food provisions — an annual 20,000 measures of wheat and 20 measures of pure oil.

The two leaders enter into a pact. Solomon raises a levy of 30,000 men, to be managed by Adoniram — 10,000 per monthly rotation to work in Lebanon, and two months at home.  Furthermore, Solomon has 60,000 labourers and 80,000 hewers in the mountains. Below the chief managers, 3300 rulers oversee these men who bring great stones, costly stones, and large hewed stones to lay the foundations of the temple.

In the second month (of Zif) of the 480th year after the children of Israel were come out of the land of Egypt (in his 4th year of reign), Solomon began to build the (Second) Temple, of the following dimensions:

  • 60 cubits long
  • 20 cubits wide
  • 30 cubits high

In the fourth year (in the month of Zif) was the foundation of the house of the Lord laid and in the 11th year (in the month of Bul) was the house finished throughout — a total of seven (6.5) years. Meanwhile, it takes Solomon 13 years to build his own house.

Solomon also builds the House of the forest of Lebanon, thought to be a part of a greater complex within Jerusalem, upon four rows of cedar pillars with cedar beams upon the pillars. Its dimensions are stipulated as being:

  • 100 cubits long
  • 50 cubits wide
  • 30 cubits high

This building contains his Porch of Judgement. The greater complex also includes a House for Pharaoh’s Daughter.

King Solomon sends for Hiram out of Tyre. A widow’s son of the tribe of Naphtali (his mother’s first husband) and his father a man of Tyre, Hiram has unsurpassed skill in working brass [bronze].

“And he came to king Solomon and wrought all his work”, in particular casting the two temple pillars, “each 18 cubits high and a line of twelve cubits did compass either of them about”. He also made “two chapiters of molten brass to sit upon the tops of the pillars, each 5 cubits high with nets of checker work, seven for each, on the top of the pillars.”

I Kings 8

  • The Ark is borne into the Temple.
  • A cloud filleth the Temple.
  • The king blesseth the people.

I Kings 9

Solomon gifts Hiram twenty cities and builds Gezer, Beth-horon, Baalath, and Milo. The Amorites, Hittites, Perizites, Hivites, and Jebusites, and of the Mede (of those that they were not able to utterly destroy) are required to pay tribute of bond-service unto this day.

26 And king Solomon made a navy of ships in Eziongeber, which is beside Eloth, on the shore of the Red sea, in the land of Edom.

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