2 Chronicles 2:1 [a]Solomon gave orders to build a temple for the Name of the Lord and a royal palace for himself. 2 He conscripted 70,000 men as carriers and 80,000 as stonecutters in the hills and 3,600 as foremen over them.
3 Solomon sent this message to Hiram(b) king of Tyre:
“Send me cedar logs as you did for my father David when you sent him cedar to build a palace to live in. 4 Now I am about to build a temple for the Name of the Lord my God and to dedicate it to him for burning fragrant incense before him, for setting out the consecrated bread regularly, and for making burnt offeringsevery morning and evening and on the Sabbaths, at the New Moons and at the appointed festivals of the Lord our God. This is a lasting ordinance for Israel.
5 “The temple I am going to build will be great, because our God is greater than all other gods. 6 But who is able to build a temple for him, since the heavens, even the highest heavens, cannot contain him? Who then am I to build a temple for him, except as a place to burn sacrifices before him?
7 “Send me, therefore, a man skilled to work in gold and silver, bronze and iron, and in purple, crimson and blue yarn, and experienced in the art of engraving, to work in Judah and Jerusalem with my skilled workers, whom my father David provided.
8 “Send me also cedar, juniper and algum[c] logs from Lebanon, for I know that your servants are skilled in cutting timber there. My servants will work with yours 9 to provide me with plenty of lumber, because the temple I build must be large and magnificent. 10 I will give your servants, the woodsmen who cut the timber, twenty thousand cors[d] of ground wheat, twenty thousand cors[e] of barley, twenty thousand baths[f] of wine and twenty thousand baths of olive oil.”
a. 2 Chronicles 2:1 In Hebrew texts 2:1 is numbered 1:18, and 2:2-18 is numbered 2:1-17.
b. 2 Chronicles 2:3 Hebrew Huram, a variant of Hiram; also in verses 11 and 12
c. 2 Chronicles 2:8 Probably a variant of almug
d. 2 Chronicles 2:10 That is, probably about 3,600 tons or about 3,200 metric tons of wheat
e. 2 Chronicles 2:10 That is, probably about 3,000 tons or about 2,700 metric tons of barley
f. 2 Chronicles 2:10 That is, about 120,000 gallons or about 440,000 liters
The commentary this morning is from enduringworld.com.
Seventy thousand men to bear burdens, eighty thousand to quarry stone: This seems to describe the number of Canaanite slave laborers that Solomon used.
Ginzberg relates some of the legends surrounding the building of the temple. “During the seven years it took to build the Temple, not a single workman died who was employed about it, nor even did a single one fall sick. And as the workmen were sound and robust from first to last, so the perfection of their tools remained unimpaired until the building stood complete. Thus the work suffered no sort of interruption.” (Ginzberg)
And three thousand six hundred to oversee them: This was the middle management team administrating the work of building the temple.
“The number of thirty-six hundred foremen differs from 1 Kings 5:16 (3,300), but the lxx of Kings is quite insecure here, and Chronicles may preserve the better reading.” (Selman)
Then Solomon sent to Hiram: “According to Josephus, copies of such a letter along with Hiram’s reply were preserved in both Hebrew and Tyrian archives and were extant in his day (Antiquities, 8.2.8).” (Dilday)
Solomon also used this phrase because he wanted to explain that he didn’t think the temple would be the house of God in the way pagans thought. This is especially shown in his words, who is able to build Him a temple, since heaven and the heaven of heavens cannot contain Him? By the standards of the paganism of his day, Solomon’s conception of God was both Biblical and high.
Therefore send me at once a man skillful to work in gold and silver: Solomon wanted the temple to be the best it could be, so he used Gentile labor when it was better. This means that Solomon was willing to build this great temple to God with “Gentile” wood and using “Gentile” labor. This was a temple to the God of Israel, but it was not only for Israel.
David gave Solomon a $4 billion erector set for the Temple. It required moving parts so Solomon looked for the best. With no Amazon to search, Solomon had to rely on experience. Since his dad was such a successful king.... Solomon knew who to call. They Gentiles of Tyre were known as the best.... so Solomon sent word to their king.
On top of that, Solomon didn't want to live in Daddy's place anymore. So he started his own palace when he ordered timber from the cedar trees in Lebanon.
It's a contract. I guess the preachers would say.... when God gets involved... it's good for everyone around? Solomon put a lot of people to work. Then again.... the word in verse 2 is "conscripted" which means.....enlist (someone) compulsorily, typically into the armed services.
So.... The erector set is beginning to come together....