2 Chronicles 2:11 Hiram king of Tyre replied by letter to Solomon:
“Because the Lord loves his people, he has made you their king.”
12 And Hiram added:
“Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, who made heaven and earth! He has given King David a wise son, endowed with intelligence and discernment, who will build a temple for the Lord and a palace for himself.
13 “I am sending you Huram-Abi, a man of great skill, 14 whose mother was from Dan and whose father was from Tyre. He is trained to work in gold and silver, bronze and iron, stone and wood, and with purple and blue and crimson yarn and fine linen. He is experienced in all kinds of engraving and can execute any design given to him. He will work with your skilled workers and with those of my lord, David your father.
15 “Now let my lord send his servants the wheat and barley and the olive oil and wine he promised, 16 and we will cut all the logs from Lebanon that you need and will float them as rafts by sea down to Joppa. You can then take them up to Jerusalem.”
17 Solomon took a census of all the foreigners residing in Israel, after the censushis father David had taken; and they were found to be 153,600. 18 He assigned70,000 of them to be carriers and 80,000 to be stonecutters in the hills, with 3,600 foremen over them to keep the people working.
The easy English site has the least preaching this morning.
Hiram’s men had the skill to cut down the cedar trees in Lebanon. Solomon would send his men to help in the task. He needed a vast quantity of wood for the temple.
Solomon said that he would pay Hiram’s men. He would pay them with wheat, barley, wine and oil.
The amount of wheat and barley was 20 000 cors of each. This is an amount equal to 1 150 000 gallons (4400 kilolitres). There would be 20 000 baths each of the wine and the oil. This is equal to 115 000 gallons (440 kilolitres).
King Hiram sent his reply to Solomon. Hiram had seen how the LORD had been with David. He saw how the LORD loved Israel. Because of that, the LORD had made Solomon to be the king of Israel.
Solomon was a more powerful king than Hiram was. So, we do not know how much of this letter shows Hiram’s real beliefs. His words may be very polite because he was writing to a more important king. But he does agree that the God of Israel is greater than any other god.
Hiram praised the LORD, the God of Israel. He wrote that the LORD created heaven and earth. The name LORD was a special name for the God of Israel.
Hiram sent Huram-Abi who was a skilled workman. His mother was an Israelite but his father came from Tyre. His mother came from the tribe of Dan. But she was the widow of a man from the tribe of Naphtali (1 Kings 7:14).
Huram-Abi’s skills included work with precious metals, wood, stone and cloth.
People made purple cloth from a deep red colour. This colour came from a kind of shellfish (a fish with a shell). That fish lives near the coast of Tyre. They called this material ‘royal purple’ because of its quality and its cost.
Then Hiram asked Solomon to send what he had promised to send. Hiram’s men would cut the wood. They would then float it on the sea. And they would bring it to the port called Joppa. Joppa was the nearest port to Jerusalem. The distance between Joppa and Jerusalem was about 40 miles (64 kilometres).
David had counted the foreigners in Israel. He appointed some foreigners to cut stones ready for the temple (1 Chronicles 22:2). Now Solomon counted the foreigners and he organised their work. He gave responsibility to 3600 foreigners. Those 3600 leaders had authority over the other foreigners.
Thousands and thousands and thousands of people worked on the Temple. Can you imagine what would happen today if the President [we don't have a king] were to say he was going to build a temple to God with money from the treasury and he was going to bring in thousands and thousands of workers from out of other countries. It would be illegal on so many levels.
In the USA, religion is a private matter. That way we are free to worship as we please. On top of that.... churches and preachers are not taxed as you and I are. So since the churches don't contribute to the wealth of the nation, and they are not ruled by the State, then public money is not available for the construction of a church. If the USA were to build our churches then they would want a say in what message the church would teach.
The governments were different. We're a democracy. We're a republic. Israel was a Theocracy. Back in the day Israel was a Theocracy with a human king. The thousands and thousands and thousands of gentile craftsmen who worked on the Temple were not there because they loved the Lord. They were there because they were caught up in forced labor and on top of that they were working for wheat, barley, wine and oil.
Since the commentary says that king Hiram believed Solomon's God was the most powerful, I started to title this lesson "My God's bigger". I was thinking of the kennel ration commercial where the beautifully groomed dog jumps the fence. But then I realized that this is a record of king Hiram of Tyre's agreement to exchange forced labor for Israeli wheat, barley, wine, and oil.
So this is about a contract to exchange labor for wheat, barley, wine, and oil.... on the backs of forced labor. I wonder... those 3,600 gentile supervisors... did they have whips?