King James Bible
with Catholic Commentary by George Leo Haydock

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1 Kings 5

Solomon’s agreement with Hiram. (1-9) Solomon’s workmen for the temple. (10-18)

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Solomon’s agreement with Hiram

1 And Hiram king of Tyre sent his servants unto Solomon; for he had heard that they had anointed him king in the room of his father: for Hiram was ever a lover of David.

2 And Solomon sent to Hiram, saying,

3 Thou knowest how that David my father could not build an house unto the name of the LORD his God for the wars which were about him on every side, until the LORD put them under the soles of his feet.

4 But now the LORD my God hath given me rest on every side, so that there is neither adversary nor evil occurrent.

5 And, behold, I purpose to build an house unto the name of the LORD my God, as the LORD spake unto David my father, saying, Thy son, whom I will set upon thy throne in thy room, he shall build an house unto my name.

6 Now therefore command thou that they hew me cedar trees out of Lebanon; and my servants shall be with thy servants: and unto thee will I give hire for thy servants according to all that thou shalt appoint: for thou knowest that there is not among us any that can skill to hew timber like unto the Sidonians.

7 And it came to pass, when Hiram heard the words of Solomon, that he rejoiced greatly, and said, Blessed be the LORD this day, which hath given unto David a wise son over this great people.

8 And Hiram sent to Solomon, saying, I have considered the things which thou sentest to me for: and I will do all thy desire concerning timber of cedar, and concerning timber of fir.

9 My servants shall bring them down from Lebanon unto the sea: and I will convey them by sea in floats unto the place that thou shalt appoint me, and will cause them to be discharged there, and thou shalt receive them: and thou shalt accomplish my desire, in giving food for my household.

Solomon’s workmen for the temple

10 So Hiram gave Solomon cedar trees and fir trees according to all his desire.

11 And Solomon gave Hiram twenty thousand measures of wheat for food to his household, and twenty measures of pure oil: thus gave Solomon to Hiram year by year.

12 And the LORD gave Solomon wisdom, as he promised him: and there was peace between Hiram and Solomon; and they two made a league together.

13 And king Solomon raised a levy out of all Israel; and the levy was thirty thousand men.

14 And he sent them to Lebanon, ten thousand a month by courses: a month they were in Lebanon, and two months at home: and Adoniram was over the levy.

15 And Solomon had threescore and ten thousand that bare burdens, and fourscore thousand hewers in the mountains;

16 Beside the chief of Solomon’s officers which were over the work, three thousand and three hundred, which ruled over the people that wrought in the work.

17 And the king commanded, and they brought great stones, costly stones, and hewed stones, to lay the foundation of the house.

18 And Solomon’s builders and Hiram’s builders did hew them, and the stonesquarers: so they prepared timber and stones to build the house.

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G Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Ver. 1. Hiram. Josephus says, that the temple was built in the 11th year of this prince. He must therefore have been the son of David’s friend, as the former had sent artificers to build David’s house, (2 K. v. 11. C.) above 30 years before. But there may be a mistake in the number, as the Scripture evidently speaks of the same king; and Josephus had said before, “Hiram rejoiced exceedingly that Solomon had succeeded to the throne; (for he had been the friend of David) and he sent ambassadors to congratulate with him on his present felicity, by whom Solomon wrote,” &c. The mutual letters of these kings were still preserved in the archives of Tyre; and this author confidently appeals to them, as he deems it “impious to insert any fiction” in his history. Ant. viii. 2. He quotes Dius and Menander; who asserted, that these princes proposed enigmas to each other; and the Hiram was obliged to pay a large sum of money, as he could not explain that which Solomon had proposed, &c. C. Ap. i. H.

Ver. 3. Wars. Many interpreters assert that this was the real impediment, (Tostat, Salien, &c.) rather than the blood, which David had already spilt, 2 K. vii. and 1 Par. xxii. 8.

Ver. 4. Adversary. Lit. “Satan.” Adad of Idumea, and another of Syria, and Jeroboam, began to molest Solomon, only towards the end of his reign. C. xi. 25.

Ver. 6. Libanus. It belonged to Israel, since the victory of David, 2 K. x. 18. Solomon built some fortresses on the mountain. C. ix. 19. The cedar-trees grow chiefly towards Phenicia, above Biblos. They bear a great resemblance with fir-trees, and grow in a pyramidical form. The wood is hard and bitter, so that worms will not molest it. Hence it was much used in the temple of Ephesus, and in other large buildings; lacunaria ex eĆ¢…propter Ʀternitatem sunt facta. Vitruv. ii. 9. — Sidonians. It seems they were subject to the king of Tyre, or this was the common title of all the Phenicians. C.

Ver. 7. Lord (Jehova) God “of Israel,” as it is expressed, 2 Par. ii. 12. H. — This pagan prince adored and erected temples and altars in honour of Baal, Astarte, and Hercules; (Josephus, &c.) yet he did not hesitate to acknowledge the God of Israel, as he supposed that there was a god for each nation. See C. xx. 28. 4 K. xvii. 27. C. — Thus many think that they may serve the God of unity, by going to hear the sermons of men who preach a contradictory doctrine. The devil will be satisfied, if he can share the divine honours: but God will admit of no rival, nor can he sanction any but the true religion. H.

Ver. 8. Fir-trees. Some take these to be another species of cedars, as they say fir is too slender and corruptible; (Martin, &c.) and Solomon had not asked for it, v. 6.; though he does in 2 Paral. ii. 8, where (H.) the word is translated archeuthina, “juniper-trees,” by the Sept. and S. Jerom. C. — Beroshim, is rendered fir-trees by Pagnin; box or cedars, &c. by others. The precise import of the Hebrew names of plants, animals, &c. is not sufficiently known. M. — Fir is use by the best architects. Virtuvius, ii. 9. C.

Ver. 9. There. Joppe was fixed upon, as the port nearest Jerusalem, 2 Par. ii. 16. The trees were squared and rolled, (C.) or dragged (H.) from the mountain-top to the river Adonis, or the plain of Biblos, and then sent in floats by sea. C. — Household, for the workmen employed in cutting the wood; (2 Par. M.) and also for Hiram’s other servants, as the kings of the East paid them not with money. C. — The Tyrians neglected agriculture. Servius.

Ver. 11. Wheat, “ground or beaten.” Heb. Paral. H. — By comparing this passage with C. iv. 22, we may see how much the court of Solomon surpassed that of Hiram. The former consumed 90 measures of flour a day; and 20,000 of wheat sufficed for the Tyrian prince’s family a whole year.Twenty. It is supposed by many commentators that thousand is to be supplied from the former sentence; as there seems otherwise to be no proportion between the wheat and the oil. Piscat. &c. — The Sept. Syr. &c. read 20,000. C. — The Alex. copy has not core, but only beth, (H.) or “bath,” which is a smaller measure, containing 29 pints and something more, (C.) or seven gallons, four pints, English wine measure; where the core, or chomer, consisted of 75 gallons, five pints. Arbuthnot. H.

Ver. 14. Levy, or tribute. The men had only to procure stones, as the Tyrians had engaged to do all which regarded the wood. C. — These were Israelites. M.

Ver. 15. Mountain of Libanus. C. — Par. mountains: but the Heb. is singular in both places. They were all proselytes or strangers.

Ver. 16. Three hundred. In 2 Par. (ii. 2. and 18,) we read six hundred; (H.) as there are 300 superior officers included. C. M. Sa, &c. — But these 3600 are all overseers. H.

Ver. 17. Fountain, which did not appear. C. — What sort would, therefore, be chosen for the most conspicuous parts of the temple? H.

Ver. 18. Giblians. Ezechiel (xxvii. 9,) commends them for building ships. Giblos of Gebal is supposed to be the town, which profane authors style Biblos, at the foot of Libanus. Ptolemy also mentions Gabala, to the east of Tyre. C.