Solomon Prepares to Build The Temple

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Hiram, King of Tyre, located on the Mediterranean Sea north of Israel, sent his envoys to pay his respects to Solomon the new King. Hiram had been an ally and friend of King David and had supplied materials and laborers to build David’s palace (II Sam. 5:11).

Now Solomon works out a contract with Hiram to supply lumber and servants for building the temple (v. 6). The agreement included transportation of the logs which were to be bound into rafts and floated down to Israel. However, Hiram wanted something in return which was food for his royal household (vv. 7-9). This agreement included 125,000 bushels of wheat and 115,000 gallons of olive oil. Due to Solomon’s wise business dealings this treaty arrangement continued for many years and brought peaceful relations between the two countries (vv. 10-12)

The Temple was not a cost-efficiency, “budget-cutting” project. Israel supplied almost two hundred thousand workers for this project. Solomon drafted many non-Israelite males as well for this temporary government service. They had to work this into their schedules along with their private responsibilities. This forced labor eventually proved very distasteful to the Israelites. Some of these worked in Lebanon in three shifts, allowing one month at work and two at home. Several thousand were charged with the delivery of materials and others were masons, hewing stones.

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Solomon drafted three times as many people as he needed to work on the temple project and arranged their schedules so they didn’t have to be away from home for long periods of time. As I arrange the schedules of people I work with and family, I need to be careful that it doesn’t destroy family life which needs to be a priority.

I Kings 5:1-18 (English Standard Version)


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